I just returned from the 2007 CubeSat Conference in California. Over 100 individuals from about 15 countries met for three days to discuss the rapidly growing small satellite (SmallSat) industry. Also participating from Kentucky was Tyler Doering from UK, a member of the KySat2 Design Team. Bill Hutchison (KySat1 Team) from the University of Louisville was scheduled to attend but had to cancel because of a conflict with his graduate work.
Presenters included representatives from NASA, Boeing, Northrup Grumman, John Hopkins University, Istanbul Technical University and Stanford. A good deal of focus and discussion was on future SmallSat payloads and missions. Attendees agreed that areas where these small satellites can have real impact included experiments involving effects of microgravity and radiation on biological systems, space weather, astrochemistry, energy, communications and novel space architectures.
Advances in miniaturization and nanotechnology will enhance their functionality and value even more.
I along with Tyler also participated in the first briefing for a scheduled 2008 Dnepr launch from Kazakhstan, Russia, which may carry KySat1 into orbit around the Earth.
A number of issues explored at this meeting will be discussed at the upcoming KySat Conference on Thursday, May 3 in Lexington.