Q&A with Kabir Marwah, Apex Software Engineer

Published on
February 14, 2023
Kabir Marwah, Apex Software Engineer
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Kabir Marwah joined Apex from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he worked on the software-side of numerous space missions. Software is core to Apex’s spacecraft architecture, and in this blog post, we’ll dive into Kabir’s take on the industry.

Q: Why the switch from JPL to Apex?

There were a few reasons why I made the switch from JPL to Apex. Firstly, I was drawn to the exciting challenge of working on a new project and being part of a startup culture. Apex is on a mission to revolutionize the satellite industry and I wanted to be a part of that. Secondly, I was looking for a new challenge and opportunity to grow and develop my skills. At Apex, I have the chance to work on cutting-edge technology and take on more responsibilities. Lastly, I was impressed with the team at Apex and the vision they have for the company. I am thrilled to be a part of a team of talented individuals who are passionate about their work and committed to making a positive impact in the industry.

Q: Why does software matter on spacecraft?

Software is a crucial component of spacecraft operations and mission success. It plays a critical role in controlling and monitoring the spacecraft, ensuring its stability, and communicating with the ground control center. Without software, the spacecraft would not be able to perform its intended mission.

Software also enables spacecraft to be more flexible and adaptable. It allows for real-time adjustments to be made to the spacecraft's operations, making it possible to respond to unexpected situations or changes in the environment.

Additionally, software plays an important role in data collection and analysis. It helps to process and interpret the data gathered by the spacecraft, providing valuable insights that can be used to further advance the field of space exploration.

Q: What has frustrated you about software in the satellite industry?

One of the main frustrations I've experienced in the satellite industry is the lack of standardization and interoperability among different systems and software. This can make it challenging to integrate different systems and can lead to compatibility issues that can cause delays and increase costs.

Another frustration is the lack of resources and funding for software development in the satellite industry. This can result in outdated systems and limited advancements in technology.

Additionally, the rigorous certification and testing processes for software used on spacecraft can also be a challenge. The high level of scrutiny and strict requirements can be time-consuming and can slow down the development and deployment of new software.

Q: For our readers who want to one day get into satellite software– what do you recommend they do?

For those who are interested in pursuing a career in satellite software, here are some recommendations:

  • Gain a strong foundation in computer science and software engineering: A solid understanding of programming languages, algorithms, and data structures is essential for a career in satellite software.
  • Specialize in areas relevant to the satellite industry: Familiarize yourself with areas such as embedded systems, real-time systems, and communication protocols.
  • Stay up-to-date with industry developments: Stay informed about the latest trends, technologies, and innovations in the satellite industry by attending conferences, reading industry publications, and following relevant experts on social media.
  • Seek out hands-on experience: Participate in internships or projects that give you hands-on experience in developing software for satellites.
  • Network with industry professionals: Attend industry events, join relevant professional organizations, and connect with professionals in the field to learn more about the industry and expand your network.

Q: Favorite mission you’ve worked on?

My favorite mission that I have worked on is definitely LunaH-Map. As a student, I had the opportunity to work on this exciting deep space cubesat project at Arizona State University. The mission was to map the surface of the moon and to understand the distribution of hydrogen in the lunar soil.

I was impressed by the innovative approach of using a cubesat for deep space exploration and the impact it could have on advancing our understanding of the moon. The project was a true collaboration between engineers, scientists, and students, and I was proud to be a part of it.

Working on the LunaH-Map provided me with hands-on experience in developing software for space missions and solidified my passion for this field. It was a great experience that I will always cherish and it has had a lasting impact on my career.

Q: Favorite part of Apex (so far!)?

My favorite part of Apex, so far, has been the team I work with. I was the first person hired by the company and it has been an amazing experience to be a part of building the team from the ground up. The team at Apex is a unique combination of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including both "old space" and "new space".

The team culture at Apex is one of collaboration, innovation, and passion. Everyone is committed to the company's mission and is dedicated to delivering high-quality products. The team is also fun-loving and supportive, making the work environment enjoyable and motivating.

Working with such a talented and motivated team has been incredibly fulfilling and has made me even more excited about the future of Apex. I am grateful to be a part of such an amazing team and I look forward to what we will achieve together in the future!

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