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CubeSat Astronomy Workshop


Friday, April 26, 2019

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California

Chair: Charles Van Steenwyk / Co-Chair: Russell Genet

Sponsored by PlaneWave Instruments

In 1999, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) and Stanford University proposed designing, building, and operating standardized miniature satellites they called CubeSats as an educational tool for teaching students about spacecraft hardware, electronics, programming, and operation.  The basic 1U CubeSat is 10 cm on a side, while a 3U CubeSat is 10x10x30 cm.  This standardization not only allowed multiple CubeSats to be deployed from spring-loaded boxes as excess cargo, but encouraged the development and manufacture of miniature power, communications, computer, and orientation modules that fit together in a CubeSat.


Originally, most CubeSats were designed by students and faculty, but commercially designed and operated CubeSats are now in the majority, such as the many downward-pointing 3U telescopes built and operated by PLANET, a Silicon Valley tech startup. It’s not hard to envision many upward-pointing CubeSat telescopes designed, built, and utilized by students and faculty for astronomical research. A few have already been launched, and, as suggested by Arizona State University astronomer Evgenya Shkolnik by the title of her recent paper (attached), we are “On the verge of an astronomy CubeSat revolution.”


Each year, for the past 15 years, Cal Poly has hosted the CubeSat Developer’s Workshop, and this year (2019) it will be immediately followed, by a modest, one-day CubeSat Astronomy Workshop. All are welcome. You can register via the website of the Institute for Student Astronomical Research, Alternatively, you can register at the Cal Poly CubeSat Developer’s Workshop website, Scroll down near the bottom.



Workshop Chair: Charles VanSteenwyk,, 805.503.5087

Workshop Co-Chair: Russell Genet,, 805.438.3305.

Workshop Agenda

Thursday, April 25th, 2019


Pre-Workshop Dinner at Beda's Biergarten


Friday, April 26th - ATL Keck Center Building 7, Room 2, California Polytechnic State University

9:00 - 9:10

Opening Remarks - Introduction

Charles Van Steenwyk and Russell Genet - California Polytechnic State University



CubeSats and SmallSats Astrophysics

Michael Garcia - NASA Science Mission Directorate



Optical Communications for CubeSats

Tyler Ritz - University of Florida



Break / Snacks



Arcsecond Space Telescope Enabling Research in Astrophysics (ASTERIA)

Mary Knapp - MIT



HaloSat X-Ray CubeSat

Daniel LaRocca - University of Iowa






Colorado Ultraviolet Transit Experiment

Arika Egan - Colorado University



Star-Planet Activity Research CubeSat

Tahina Ramiaramanantsoa - Arizona State University



Cal Poly CubeSat Capabilities

Amelia Greig - California Polytechnic State University



Break / Snacks



Introduction to USQ and Model-Based Systems Engineering

Alejandro Levi - Univ. S. Queensland INOSE / SSWG



Exploring the Future of CubeSat Astronomy

Charles Van Steenwyk - California Polytechnic State University






Closing Remarks

Charles Van Steenwyk - California Polytechnic State University



Dinner at Beda's Biergarten - 230 Broad St Ste 130, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401


Saturday, April 27 


Breakfast at The Apple Farm

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