Student and amateur CubeSat news roundup – Jan.23.2020

A sampling of recent articles, press releases, etc. related to student and amateur CubeSat / SmallSat projects and programs (find previous smallsat roundups here):

** “What Smallsat Projects Are Like For University Students” – Cold Star interview with Dr. Amelia Greig of Univ. of Texas at El Paso:

Dr. Amelia Greig of the University of Texas at El Paso’s Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research is on the Cold Star Project to talk about her experience. We’re looking into both her own experience as a student and professor, and that of her graduate students in today’s programs.

Dr. Greig earned an Australian National University doctorate in plasma physics & electrical propulsion, a Postdoctorate in Plasma Physics at CalTech, and taught aerospace propulsion, space environment and spacecraft thermal control at California Polytechnic State University before moving to the University of Texas.

I wanted to hear from “boots on the ground” about what’s going on in academia regarding smallsats. So we cover what kind of courses students are interested in, the hands-on opportunities they’re being given in addition to classroom theory, and Dr. Greig’s vision for the future.

In addition, she shares her thoughts on what graduate students can and should be doing before and as graduation approaches so they can maximize their job opportunities. Networking done well during this time can pay off strongly into their career. You can connect with Dr. Greig at

** Latest from the all-girl Kyrgyz Space Program in  Kyrgyzstan:

See also:

** AMSAT news on student and amateur CubeSat/smallsat projects: ANS-019 AMSAT News Service Special Bulletin

  • GOLF-TEE Reaches Major Milestones
  • ARISS Contact Opportunity Call for Proposals February 1, 2020 to March 31, 2020
  • Satellite Status and Tracking API’s Added to AMSAT Website
  • Qarman Beacon Telemetry Information Released
  • China Telecoms Regulator Proposing to Delete Some Current Amateur Allocations
  • Memorial Service for Brian Kantor, WB6CYT
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

General CubeSat/SmallSat info:

** Rick Fleeter – A Personal History of Smallsats – The Cold Star Project S02E04

Dr. Rick Fleeter, associate adjunct professor at Brown University and visiting lecturer at La Sapienza (Rome), has decades of personal history with small satellites.

“I got started in microspace through amateur radio and AMSAT. In the early 1980s I had the unusual experience of spending evenings building small satellites in a garage in Redondo Beach, CA, paid for essentially with small contributions by the team that was building them, while during the day working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and then TRW, where it was insisted that without something close to $1 billion there wasn’t much you could do other than paper studies.”

Rick Fleeter was launching smallsats in the 1970s, when they were considered merely a hobby or toys. Since then he has helped change the perception of cubesats to useful tools by leading well designed, cost-minimized projects. As an example, Brown’s Space Engineering department built a satellite for just $5000. He has written books, founded the company AeroAstro and the Space Horizons annual conference at Brown.

In this interview, Cold Star Project host Jason Kanigan asks Dr. Rick Fleeter about the smallsat and cubesat field, new developments, frustrations with space, and even company development.

** Isaac Arthur – The Future of Smallsats – The Cold Star Project S02E03

Host of the top space educator YouTube channel, Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur, is on the Cold Star Project and we’re talking about the future of smallsats. Isaac Arthur shares his views with host Jason Kanigan on:
* the potential impact of economies of scale and the sheer number of cubesats about to be put into orbit
* tracking problems and space debris cleanup possibly resulting from mission failure, end of life, and collisions
* connectivity improvements leading to SAR (search and rescue) & lifesaving operations
* the next two or three decades of industry & commercial development of continuous launches to place and replace satellite constellations
* the future of smallsat technology and “space jobs.”
Check out Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur here:…

** Riccardo Albertoni – Electric Propulsion for Smallsats – Cold Star Project S02E06

Dr. Riccardo Albertoni, a member of the Airbus team in charge of developing electric propulsion systems including the one used on the OneWeb constellation, is our guest on the Cold Star Project. His team was the 2017 & 2019 Winner of the Airbus Defence and Space Award for Excellence, and he lectures on electric propulsion at the Airbus Space Academy. Dr. Albertoni explains how electric propulsion for satellites works, as well as its role in the market. While electric propulsion has several advantages, it is not a fit for every type of mission. He explains to host Jason Kanigan that there will continue to be room for conventional combustion propulsion systems. Dr. Albertoni concludes by sharing his views on what new developments are upcoming in the electric propulsion field.

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