April 3, 2024
You are here:  Home  >  Regions  >  Central Coast  >  Current Article

Vandenberg officials tour Cal Poly’s miniature satellite program


Vandenberg Air Force Base officials met with staff and students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s PolySat program April 1.

The program makes miniature satellites for research missions that are then launched in excess payload spaces of larger satellites. Cal Poly Aerospace Engineering Professor Jordi Puig-Suari created the program in 1999 and gave a tour to Navy and Air Force officials that visited Cal Poly.

Navy Rear Adm. Brian Brown, deputy commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space based at Vandenberg, toured a lab and clean room where satellites are tracked and built. During the tour, Brown said he was in amazed by what students did in the facility.

Cal Poly launched its eighth CubeSat satellite on Jan 31, 2015 and another is expected to launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket later this year.

During a news conference after the tour, Brown said it’s important to have partnerships with the public because space influences every part of life because of communications, weather and mapping satellites. CubeSats offer the potential to be cheap redundant backups to larger communications satellites, he said.

An informal relationship between Vandenberg officials including Brown and the program already exists, but he hopes to expand a formal partnership between the base and the PolySat program.

“I have teams of folks that have been participating for a number of years,” he said. “Formalization helps with access. If we can formalize some agreements then we can offer access and offer students potential (access.)”

This story originally said Cal Poly launched its last CubeSat satellite on Dec. 6, 2013. Its last CubeSat satellite launched Jan. 31, 2015. 

• Contact Philip Joens at pjoens@pacbiztimes.com