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Mike Cupples

Mike Cupples

Research Analyst

Retired | Northern Idaho


My Portfolio Highlights

My New Course

Exploratory Data Analysis in Python

My New Course

Object-Oriented Programming in Python

My New Course

Intermediate Data Visualization with Seaborn

Analytical wordsmith, crafting stories with data science as the pen and a drive for understanding and a quest for scientific/business meaning as the ink.

My Work

Take a look at my latest work.


What and Where are the World's Oldest Businesses


Statistical Thinking in Python (Part 2)


Writing Functions in Python


Object-Oriented Programming in Python


Intermediate Data Visualization with Seaborn


A Visual History of Nobel Prize Winners

DataCamp Course Completion

Take a look at all the courses I’ve completed on DataCamp.

My Work Experience

Where I've interned and worked during my career.

Raytheon Missile Systems | Jan 2007 - Apr 2018

Principal Sytstems Enginieer (Retired)

• Lead Modeling-Simulation-and-Analysis Engineer: Work included team lead for hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) real-time simulation development project and related system hardware integration/test efforts supporting a large multi-system, multi-$100M flight hardware program. Mostly software development activities. • Lead Modeling Simulation & Analysis Engineer and Technical Manager: As a Principal Systems Engineer, my assignments for a 600-million-dollar program included developing and maintaining a simulation modernization road map covering a set of 20 simulations and leading the migration of the simulations into RMS' standard simulation architecture, including the hardware-in-the loop systems integration lab. This modernization work provided direct support to chief engineers and program management for critical investment decisions, flight test support, and new system design & development. • Lead Systems Engineer for Simulation Verification and Validation: Using my expertise in flight mechanics, held the lead role in simulation V&V (verification and validation) for several system development efforts. Mostly the V&V work ensured that key simulation models were validated against data/physics while other models were verified against other previously verified models. The overall simulation was then verified against other simulations at the systems level. • Lead Systems Engineer: Modeled a throttling divert and attitude control system, where I took a strong role in model verification with deep external customer interface. Authored the Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS) math model requirements for the system simulation. This DACS work provided RMS and their customer with the simulation tools for successful pre-flight test performance predictions and post flight test trajectory matching/performance verification. • Principal DACS Model Developer: Developed a new RMS DACS simulation and implemented the model into a systems level 6DOF simulation. • Principal Small Satellite System Developer: Employed space systems skill set as RMS' small satellite design & simulation lead developer: performance and cost of deploying constellation of small communication satellites in LEO, including launch vehicle trades, communication links, command propagation among constellation, systems configuration/definition.
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Science Applications International Corporation | Feb 2000 - Jan 2007

Sr. Systems Engineer

• Lead Systems Engineer for In-Space Propulsion Technology Assessment support to the Marshal Space Flight Center: I led a diverse team of SAIC engineers, university professors, and graduate students in performing optimal mission analyses and propulsion assessment based on simulated missions to solar system destinations. This propulsion assessment work assisted NASA in making critical funding decisions on future NASA in-space propulsion technologies: • Analyzed and critically evaluated low and high thrust propulsion technologies and mission concepts for NASA in-space transportation systems. One of the key technology development program efforts focused on performance characterization and assessment for NASA's 2nd Generation Ion Propulsion Project: development of systems engineering tools for performance characterization of electric propulsion engines, power processing units, and propellant management systems associated with NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) development. • Reporting directly to the NASA program office, my team developed and presented analyses results and recommendations to NASA's In-Space Propulsion Technology Project office. The contribution that the modeling, simulation and analyses brought to the NASA customer was the ability to assess relative performance of an array of advanced propulsion systems (advanced chemical, solar electric, solar sail and thermal nuclear, leading to prudent and timely investment decisions by the NASA In-Space Propulsion Program.

DESE | Apr 1996 - Feb 2000

Sr. Systems Engineer

• Principal Investigator for a NASA contract defining a Chemical-Aerocapture transportation architecture for human space exploration: ◦ Analyses activities included optimal interplanetary trajectory design, mission analyses including Mars ascent/descent, and over-all exploration architecture assessment for missions to Mars, asteroids, and Earth/Sun-Earth/Moon libration points, providing NASA with critical heavy-lift launch vehicle development decision making data. • Satellite interceptor guidance/navigation/control software development; satellite simulation development including visible camera model and general lighting model (earth limb, sun, moon, bright stars); satellite safety-of-flight test analyses, reporting to customer technical departments and management.

The Boeing Compan | Oct 1985 - Jun 1995

Systems Engineer

Supported Space Transportation Initiative (SEI) vehicle concept development: ◦ Trajectory design for human Lunar and Mars missions, including trajectory optimization. ◦ Development of simulation routines for low-thrust interplanetary trajectory design. ◦ Trades related to various system configurations: all-chemical, chemical-aerobrake, nuclear electric, nuclear thermal, and solar electric, propellant management systems, radiation shielding, and thermal protection. ◦ Mars landing flight mechanics and navigation trade studies. Mars landing guidance routines. ◦ Hypersonic descent & landing analyses included landing site access to Mars polar ice caps for lifting-body vehicles, landing site access from optimal Mars parking orbits for lifting-body vehicles, and Mars landings using aero-assisted skip-out maneuvers. ◦ Provided NASA with key propulsion planning data for Lunar and Mars missions associated with the Space Exploration Initiative.

My Education

Take a look at my formal education

Master of Science in PhysicsLousiana Tech University | 1985
Bachelor of Science in PhysicsLouisiana Tech University | 1983

About Me

Mike Cupples

My passion for data science: analyzing data using powerful, modern techniques to capture, to effectively analyze, and to beautifully express results that drive home explicit/implicit meaning behind the data and provide actionable scientific content.

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