Thomas is working with the MnSGC’s High-Altitude Ballooning Team at the U of MN – Twin Cities. His work has an emphasis on camera systems in a high-altitude environment, focusing on optimizing video quality, memory capabilities, battery life, and post-flight of various small cameras. He has become proficient in the handling and operation of GoPro Session, Lightdow LD4000, and Garmin VIRB 360 cameras and continues to explore methods to make footage more suitable to view in a VR format. Thomas has also done research into the implementation of multi-layer insulation on the Alphasense particle detector, as part of the MURI research project. An alternative to the foam insulation typically utilized on ballooning payloads, multi-layer insulation is being explored as a possible method to reduce the footprint and weight of the MURI payload. In addition, Thomas has helped with various other projects such as working with FreeWave radios, constructing an early iteration of the MURI active heating system, and participating in numerous MnSGC outreach events with pre-college students.
Thomas plans to graduate from the University of Minnesota in the spring of 2021 with a major in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics and a minor in Astrophysics. Apart from schoolwork and the ballooning team, he volunteers in the University of Minnesota UAV (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle) lab and is a member of the Minnesota Swim Club. He enjoys competing in triathlons, with a long-term goal of completing an Ironman. After graduation, Thomas hopes to specialize on the design and testing of flight control systems in aircraft.