Hubble Space Telescope engineer develops satellite design for Public Telescope

Since January 2015, Hans Kroeger supports the development of the German space project ‘Public Telescope’. Hans Kroeger has worked as a systems engineer in the space industry for more than 3 decades, specializing in scientific satellites like the Hubble Space Telescope or the Envisat environmental monitoring mission.

Hans Kroeger built his first rocket at the age of 14. Later he studied communications engineering at the Technical University of Munich and began his career in the satellite technology department at Dornier.

In 1978, Kroeger joined the international development team of the Hubble Space Telescope. For 13 years he was in charge of design, integration, commissioning and in-orbit verification of the Faint Object Camera (FOC). The Hubble Faint Object Camera was used from 1990 to 2002 to observe extremely faint astronomical objects in the visual and ultraviolet spectral range. It is the source of many scientific publications.

Hubble Space Telescope

 

From 1994 on, Kroeger worked  for the environmental satellite mission Envisat. For 8 years he was the operations manager for the Envisat instrument SCIAMACHY (Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography) during all phases from design, integration and testing up till launch, commissioning and in-orbit verification. This instrument is a spectrometer to study the Earth's atmosphere in different spectral ranges. As part of his work for SCIAMACHY Koeger compiled the operations manual for the instrument, which will serve as a model for other satellite missions.

Envisat Space Mission

Kroeger describes his commitment to the German Public Space Telescope as follows: "I want to bring my experience into a satellite project that will make a significant contribution to public access to space astronomy. I am convinced that the study of astronomy can be a significant contribution to the understanding of mankind. It is inevitable that this will lead to more respect for our planet and makes us aware of our arrogance when dealing with nature.

Ultimately astronomy attempts to explain the origin and evolution of the universe. The current state of knowledge (cosmology) shows us not only the limits of classical physics. It also shows us how much the human mind is limited due to the evolution of the senses in our three-dimensional environment, how little we actually know about and understand our multidimensional universe. The bottom line is that studying astronomy leads to modesty, a rather rare virtue nowadays.

Questions about faith and religion also do become fascinating when being confronted with scientific theories. Finally, my commitment to the Public Telescope also shows how you can dedicate time to an important project as a pensioner, without any motive to make profit. Maybe I can pass this on to one or the other …

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