On July 7th, Guangming Daily covered the exploration and innovation for talent cultivation of HIT in the report with the title of “Students here can Make Their Dreams Fly into Space — Exploration for Cultivating Talents in Astronautics at Harbin Institute of Technology”.
The report is as follows:
Students here can Make Their Dreams Fly into Space
—Exploration for Cultivating Talents in Astronautics at Harbin Institute of Technology
In June, lilacs blooms everywhere in Harbin with Fragrance full of the whole city. While in distant space, there is also a “Lilac” blooming.
Not long ago, “Lilac I” independently developed by the student team of Harbin Institute of Technology was released from the International Space Station and began to operate. It is reported that this is the second satellite developed by the student team. On September 20th, 2015, “Lilac II” was successfully launched, which is the first micro and nano satellite independently designed, developed and controlled by college students of China, creating a number of records in China.
Why can micro and nano satellite research and development team of Harbin Institute of Technology, which is composed by post-90 college students with the average age of less than 24 years, make their dreams fly from this ivory tower into space?
Zhou Yu, president of HIT, said, “The concept of multi-discipline, multi-professional, with large space and strong cooperation, and the talent cultivation mode of encouraging students’ comprehensive ability in engineering practice help the students of HIT make their dreams com true in space.”
A Mixed Dream Team
“We are a dream team with various disciplines mixed together.” Wei Mingchuan, the leader of the micro and nano satellite research and development team of Harbin Institute of Technology described his team. The team is based in the Institute of Satellite Technology and includes more than 40 undergraduates, masters and doctoral students from eight disciplines, such as aerospace science and technology, mechanics, computer science and technology, control science and engineering, mechanical engineering, information and communication engineering, electrical engineering, power engineering and engineering thermophysics.
“A satellite is a complex system that requires measurement and control, power supply, attitude control, astronomical management and structural and thermal control systems to work together and collaborate.” Wei Mingchuan told the reporter, “In a test, we found that it was difficult for the satellite antenna to operate in a vacuum and under low temperature. If the antenna failed to unfold, the satellite would not be able to communicate with the ground. In this way, even if the satellite was launched successfully, it would be meaningless. When there was no way for students in the antenna group to deal with this problem, the structural group replaced the material of bundled antenna and optimized the bundling method, the measurement and control group improved the scheme of plating the PCB board with internal copper, and the power group optimized the energizing time of the antenna. After repeated tests, it was finally successful.”
In the opinion of Cao Xibin, assistant of president and dean of the School of Astronauts, the success of this mix comes from the concept of multi-discipline, multi-professional, with large space and strong cooperation to which Harbin Institute of Technology has adhered to for decades.
From the Department of Aeronautical Engineering of Harbin Institute of Technology to China’s first school of astronautics training high-level space professionals and engaging in aerospace high-tech research, today’s HIT has formed the “Big Space” pattern with a number of colleges, multiple disciplines mutually integrated and commonly serving the space cause.
In April 2004, the “Test I” satellite developed by the Harbin Institute of Technology was launched successfully, breaking a new ground for colleges and universities in developing micro satellites. Since then, six small satellites developed by HIT have been successfully launched, setting a record with “seven victories in seven battles”.
An Inheritance of Scientific Research Spirit
Wu Fan joined the R&D team in the second year of undergraduate study. “At the beginning, I thought that I would just help teachers collect information and do some research. However, when the teachers let me come up with a design, I had no idea, because I hadn’t even finished my specialized lessons.” Wu said.
There are lots of students like Wu Fan in the team. In the process of satellite development, in the face of ambiguous basic concepts and confusing engineering experiments, it can only be imagined how difficult it is for them to become familiar with such unfamiliar knowledge in the shortest time, make it flexible and use it. “Collecting the information, reading the literature, repeatedly studying and pondering in the laboratory overnight almost became very common for team members.” Wu Fan said.
“We will stick to it even if it is difficult, because our predecessors and teachers faced worse experimental conditions and more difficulties, but they always rose to challenge. Academician Huang Wenhu is one of the earliest initiators in China to come up with and promote the development of fault diagnosis technology. His research was started in small power plants in mountainous areas.” said Miao Yueyue, a member of the team.
Year after year, HIT has cultivated generations of astronautics talents and members of the micro and nano satellite R&D team have been changed. Times change, but the pursuit for preciseness will never change; members change, but the spirit carried out by them will exist forever.
Exploration and Innovation for Cultivating Talents at a University
The deepest impression of Hu Chaoran, a student of HTI participating in the study of series of lilac satellites is freedom. “In the team, we can put forward any ideas and teachers only give us advice but never give us specific solutions or constrain our ideas.” said Hu Chaoran.
“Harbin Institute of Technology has always cultivated talents for national strategic needs. Today, China as a space power is in urgent need of innovative talent, HIT supports students to design, develop, and control the satellite. Innovation is not only in scientific research, but also lies in schools’ exploration of teaching methods, management, and talent cultivation.” Cao Xibin said, “We want to break the previous training methods and rigid thinking mode that the student-teacher relationship is a master-apprentice relationship. We are not only want students to participate in teachers’ scientific research projects, but encourage them to develop their own independent scientific research capacity and independent thinking and cultivate students’ science and research confidence and innovative ability. So now, we have achieved some positive results.”
It is known that, in order to speed up the cultivation of innovative space personnel, Hit has set up the first student nano satellite innovation workshop, invested 8 million yuan to support students to buy scientific research equipment and encouraged students to carry out innovation and practice at different levels, such as in satellite-related equipment, single machines, components, systems, and whole satellites.
“Innovation is not the personal imagination, but the cooperation of the whole team. We want to build such a platform as a window to international exchanges and cooperation with the world, to attract more college students from at home and abroad to participate. Our goal is to cultivate engineers with the potential of scientists.” said Cao Xibin.