David Miles
PhD Student
  Phone: 780-492-8179
  Email: david.miles@ualberta.ca
  Department: Physics
  Office: CCIS 3-243
  Lab: CCIS 3-247
  Address: University of Alberta
Edmonton AB T6G 2E1

Research Interests

I am an experimental space scientist specializing in instrumentation for geophysics, space plasma physics, and space weather applications. I have developed instruments for oceanbottom, ground-based, suborbital rocket, and satellite applications.


  TBD PhD in Geophysics – Working title: “Advances and geophysical applications of fluxgate magnetometers”, Department of Physics, University of Alberta  
  2013 MSc in Physics – Thesis: “Towards a Radiation Hardened Fluxgate Magnetometer for Space Physics” Department of Physics, University of Alberta  
  2012 Space Studies Program 2012 – International Space University co-hosted by NASA Kennedy and the Florida Institute of Technology  
  2007 BEng in Computer Engineering – Sixteen month of coop work experience. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Victoria  

Employment History

  2007-Present University of Alberta Trust Professional (Instrument Engineer EIT)  
  2003-2008 Minerva Technology Inc. Self Employed – President and Lead Contractor  

Projects and Science Team Membership

  Enhanced Polar Outflow (ePOP) Satellite Mission
Fluxgate Payload/Science Team PI: Andrew Yau, U. Calgary
ePOP is the science payload on the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) satellite Cassiope. As an invited member of the science team I performed the final checkout and updates to the fluxgate payload before launch, commissioned the instrument and am handling the day-to-day operation of the instrument. I have developed software to process raw instrument readings into clean, reliable, calibrated scientific data product for international dissemination.
  ICI Sounding Rocket Program
Magnetometer Lead / Science Team PI: Jøran Moen, U. Oslo
ICI-4 is the fourth campaign of a Norwegian scientific sounding rocket program to study the polar region where energy from the sun enters the Earth’s upper atmosphere.  This energy transport influences space weather, including GPS navigation and communications at Canadian latitudes. Due in part to my strong and continued work on the CaNoRock program (described below), my supervisor, Prof. Ian Mann, and I were offered science team membership and a no-cost flight for my instrument on the $2 M CAD ICI-4 sounding rocket program for my PhD thesis as well as the follow-on ICI-5 mission which will deploy a constellation of cube satellites to take multi-point measurements.
  CARISMA – Next Generation Autonomous Magnetometers
Co-Applicant PI: David Milling, U. Alberta
I am a co-applicant and co-investigator in a CSA funded expansion to the CARISMA network of terrestrial geophysical magnetometers. This five year project will leverage the fluxgate magnetometer I developed for my MSc thesis to create a dense array of world-leading instruments to provide freely available science measurements in support of satellite missions such as CSA’s Cassiope/ePOP, NASA’s Van Allen Probes and THEMIS and ESA’s SWARM.
  PRIMO Payload for the PCW Satellite Constellation
Fluxgate Payload Engineer (EIT) PI: Ian Mann, U. Alberta
PRIMO is a secondary science payload for Canada’s Polar Communication and Weather (PCW) satellites designed to study the poorly understood plasma environment in near Earth space above Canada. I helped define the science objectives, data needs and payloads. I served as project manager for a team of scientists, engineers, and subcontractors for both a 12 month, $100k CAD feasibility study and the competitive selection into a $350k CAD mission definition phase.
  ORBITALS Radiation Belt Satellite
Payload Engineer (EIT) PI: Ian Mann, U. Alberta
ORBITALS was a Canadian satellite with 10 US and Canadian instruments designed to study the origin and variability of energetic particles in the Earth’s radiation belts and their impact on space weather. Over two mission phases worth $1.5 M, I led the development of the fluxgate magnetometer payload, helped define mission requirements, authored major contract deliverables, and presented mission reviews.
  CaNoROck Student Sounding Rocket Program
Program Coordinator PIs: Mann – U. Alberta, Moen, U. Oslo
CaNoRock is a collaboration between the Andøya Rocket Range and seven Canadian and Norwegian Universities to use hands-on student rocket activities to train students and attract them to graduate study or the aerospace industry. I was a participant in the pilot campaign, helped obtain $432k in grants, and now run the ongoing Canadian program. CaNoRock recently received $2 M NOK for research collaboration, student exchange and PhD schools.
  Minerva Technology Inc., President and Lead Contractor
In 2003, during my BEng, I founded an R&D company (staff of 3) to develop scientific electronics for industry needs that I discovered during co-op work placements. As company president, I led contracts which included developing custom data-loggers for: field deployed magnetometers; un-monitored, multi-year deployments of ocean-bottom tectonic strain sensors; and an Antarctic ice-borehole temperature logging experiment to study paleoclimate. We developed the flight firmware for the Cassiope/e-POP satellite magnetometer leading to my recent invitation to the science team. We worked on the internet-enabled accelerometer network now providing real-time seismic monitoring throughout Vancouver. I suspended the company when I entered graduate school. However, these six years of projects allowed me to develop expertise in making sophisticated measurements in hostile and extreme environments.
  Education, Service and Public Outreach

ISSET Summer Camp  –  Designer of the top ranked activity

ISSET Students Group – Co-Founder and First President

ISSET Space Research Symposium – Speaker

Graduate Students Association Council – Physics Representative

Frontpage of the Edmonton Journal – “Rocket camp punches holes in the sky”

Edmonton Journal – “Sky no limit for UofA Students”

The Gateway –  “UofA’s involvement in Norway rocketry program expands”

Youtube – “Rangeview – CaNoRock-1”


Selected Publications:

Wallis, D. D., Miles, D. M., Narod, B. B., Bennest, J. R., Murphy, K. R., Mann, I. R., & Yau, A. W. (2014). The CASSIOPE/e-POP Magnetic Field Instrument (MGF). Space Science Reviews, 1-13.

Murphy, K. R., Miles, D. M., Watt, C. E., Rae, I. J., Mann, I. R., & Frey, H. U. (2014). Automated determination of auroral breakup during the substorm expansion phase using all‐sky imager data. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics119(2), 1414-1427.

Rae, I. J., Murphy, K. R., Miles, D. M., Watt, C. E., & Mann, I. R. (2013). Comment on “Formation of substorm Pi2: A coherent response to auroral streamers and currents” by Y. Nishimura et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics118(6), 3488-3496.

Miles, D. M., Bennest, J. R., Mann, I. R., & Millling, D. K. (2013). A radiation hardened digital fluxgate magnetometer for space applications. Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems2(2), 213-224.