Seamus Kirby Capstone

Name: Seamus Kirby

Mentor: Mark Miles - I asked Mark Miles to be my capstone mentor because of his experience in computer programming. Mark Miles is a former professional programmer, and teaches computer science classes at my school, which meant he had a lot of knowledge about computer programming.

Abstract: For my capstone, I chose to create an computer orbit simulator in the computer programming language Processing. I am majoring in Computer Science in college, and hope to become a computer programmer after college, so I wanted to come up with a capstone that had a heavy emphasis in computer programming. Originally, the only thing I knew I wanted to do with the project was create a scientifically accurate gravity simulation, but as I worked on it I came up with things to add to improve my project. Throughout the process of creating this project, I learned a lot about the physics of gravity, and vectors, and was able to improve my programming skills.

The Finished Project:
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1. "Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design*." Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.

This source taught me a lot about the design of spacecrafts. While my program is most likely not going to involve actual spacecrafts, it was interesting to learn about the things engineers had to consider when building things in space. It also gave me a lot of ideas for things that I could put into my presentation for my capstone, because it talks a lot about the physics and dangers of space.

2. Braeunig, Robert A. "Basics of Space Flight: Orbital Mechanics." Basics of Space Flight: Orbital Mechanics. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.

This website was extremely helpful because it went into a lot of detail about the math behind orbits, and space. It talked about conic sections, orbital elements, the types of orbits, and many other things. This was helpful because the main thing I needed to make my program realistic was to take equations directly from physics and try to model my program after them.

3. "A Brief History of Space Exploration." The Aerospace Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.

This source gave an overview of the history of humanity’s endeavors in space, from the first satellite to the Mars rover. I will most likely use this information in my presentation, but it will be useful if I decide to incorporate the history of space into my program in some way. It was also interesting to see the progression humanity made with space flight, and how what we put into space evolved as we learned more and more.

4. " create New Sketch." OpenProcessing. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.

Open processing is a forum for people to post programs they wrote in processing, which is the same language that I am writing my orbit simulator in. It is helpful when I am struggling with a bug, or adding a feature, to look at programs on this site to see how people solved the same problem. It also is useful to look at to try and get ideas for my own program, based on what other people have done with the language.

5. Elert, Glenn. "Orbital Mechanics I." - The Physics Hypertextbook. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.

This website goes in depth about orbital mechanics. It includes many of the essential formulas and equations that are used in orbital mechanics calculations, making it very useful for simulating a scientifically accurate orbit. It also explains many terms that are used when describing space or orbital mechanics, making it helpful when I try to research other sources.

6. NASA. NASA, n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.

NASA is one of the world’s leading pioneers in space exploration, and many of the things I learned to put into my program were originally discovered by NASA. The NASA website also has many things that I plan on putting into my presentation, including the history of spaceflight, and many other things.

7. "Orbiter Is a Free and Realistic Space Flight Simulation Program for the Windows PC." Orbiter Space Flight Simulator. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.

This is the website of a program that is similar to my idea. I was able to use this program to see what they did, so that I could model my capstone off of it. It helped give me ideas, and was a generally helpful resource.

8. "Reference. The Processing Language Was Designed to Facilitate the Creation of Sophisticated Visual Structures." Language Reference (API) Processing 2+. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.

This resource is the reference page for the programming language processing. It gives explanations for how to use all of the main methods in processing. I used to debug my program, and to learn how to use new methods that I had not used previously. It also contained sample code that I could draw from for my program.

9. "The Space Race." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.

This source gave me a lot history and information about the space race. I will use this information in my presentation, and I may add it into my program if I choose to include information about the space race. It is also a good resource on many other historical information I choose to include.

10. "Top Questions." Stack Overflow. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.

Stack overflow is a forum for people to post problems they have while programming, that people respond to with solutions. When I have a problem I can either post the problem I am having, or search the site to try to find others with the same or a similar problem. People also post sample code on things that I need references for, which I also take advantage of from the site.

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