News and Announcements

This section is intended for brief news items or announcements only. If appropriate, we will provide a link to a longer announcement or related article.


Please submit news items or announcements to editor@jossonline in a word file format.

May 2017

New Technical Area Editor (TAE) On Board

JoSS welcomes Astrogator John Carrico to its corps of Editors, with expertise in many of our topic areas.
Among his current professional responsibilities, he performs due diligence of potential investments and develops future aerospace business strategies. He has worked on flight dynamics mission analysis, operations, development, and systems integration, and has supported several operational Earth and Lunar spacecraft missions. He has designed and written trajectory design algorithms and software used for mission analysis and spacecraft operations, and has given courses worldwide on mission planning, trajectory design, manuever planning, and mission operations. Carrico also has experience in geospatial intelligence systems, and has performed reearch and development in the chemical monitoring and detection field.

May 2017

2017 Satellite Innovation Symposium – Oct. 2-3

With a focus that is unique among satellite industry events, the Satellite Innovation Symposium looks broadly upon innovations affecting the satellite communications market. Read more information about the players and organizations attending this unique networking opportunity by clicking here.


October 2016

New Technical Area Editors (TAEs) On Board

We have several new experts among our prestigious corps of Technical Area Editors (TAEs) at JoSS!
Cahoy-Clear Cropped and ResizedKerri Cahoy, Ph.D., Boeing Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, joined us earlier this year. After receiving her M.S. (2002) and Ph.D. (2008) in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, Dr. Cahoy worked on the Mars Global Surveyor Radio Science Team, and then as a Senior Payload Engineer at Space Systems Loral, a NASA Postdoctoral fellow at NASA Ames, and a research scientist on GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) at NASA Goddard. She received a 2013 AFOSR Young Investigator grant to investigate the sensitivity of communication satellite components to space weather, and a NASA New Investigator Program in Earth Science grant in 2014 to enable atmospheric data retrieval from nanosatellite sensors. She is excited to share her expertise with JoSS constituents who submit articles in the technical areas of Payload/Science/-Missions; Electrical Power Systems (EPS); Tracking, Telemetry, and Communications (TT&C); and Command and Data Handling (C&DH).
patterson-resized-and-adjustedJoSS also recently welcomed Pat Patterson, Ph.D., Director of Advanced Concepts for Space Dynamics Laboratory, as a TAE with expertise in the areas of: CONOPS/Systems; Formation Flying; Payloads/Science/Missions; and Integration and Testing.
Dr. Patterson received his M.S. (1990) in Spacecraft Controls Systems and a Ph.D. (2005) in Space Systems Engineering from Utah State University. He is currently the Director of the Advanced Concepts Division within Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory (USU/SDL), and is the Chairman of the annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics/USU Conference on Small Satellites. Other roles include membership on the Technical Committee for the European Space Agency’s 4S Symposium, and the Scientific Program Committee for the International Academy of Astronautics Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation. Dr. Patterson also serves as an Industrial Advisory Committee member for USU’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department.


October 2016

2017 SmallSat Symposium is Open for Registration!

admin-ajaxThe SmallSat Symposium 2017 (February 6-8, Mountain View, Silicon Valley, CA) aims to unlock the business aspects, technologies and the financial and legal acumen that comprise the foundation of today’s rapid growth in the small satellite market. A broad range of thought-provoking panels and speakers representing visionary ideas and years of business experience are brought together once again. Following a day of workshops, the two-day conference will provide opportunities to network with prominent small satellite professionals, learn in sessions from executives and leaders who are changing the industry, and understand what it takes to participate in the next stages of growth.
Early bird pricing is now available; read more about the program and register at !

May 2016

MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) Student Team Places Second in NASA’s CubeQuest Challenge


MIT's KitCube GT-2 Team

MIT’s KitCube GT-2 Team. Back: Scarlett Koller, Angie Crews, Rachel Weinberg, Johannes Norheim, Maxim Khatsenko. Front: Kate Cantu, Max Yates. Photo: Rachel Weinberg.

JoSS is pleased to announce that MIT’s KitCube satellite design project has placed second in G-2, the second ground tournament of NASA’s CubeQuest Challenge. The CubeSat Challenge offers a total of over $5 million in prizes to teams that can develop CubeSats that can operate in deep space or lunar orbit, and the top three competitors in the final ground tournament will win a spot on the Space Launch System’s Exploration Mission 1 launch, currently scheduled for 2018. Two ground tournaments remain; the next competition, GT-3, takes place in August 2016.
KitCube’s design features novel green monopropellant propulsion technology and a laser communications payload. With these features, KitCube will be competitive for the lunar derby prize (achieved by successfully entering lunar orbit), as well as the best burst data rate prize. The green monopropellant, AF-M315E, was developed by AFRL, and is a less toxic fuel with a relatively high specific impulse. Meanwhile, the laser communications payload is expected to achieve a data rate of >1.5 Mbps over a 30-minute interval from lunar orbit.
KitCube’s student team is composed of a mix of undergraduate and graduate students at MIT, currently with over 45 active team members. Since GT-1, KitCube has also teamed up with Project Selene, a team of high school students from Pasadena, CA. Science and Technology Corp. (STC), the sponsor of JoSS, is one of KitCube’s sponsors.


February 2016

MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) Student Team is Top Contender in NASA’s CubeQuest Challenge

KitCube is a 6U CubeSat that will demonstrate new communications and propulsion technology, led by students and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in collaboration with industry and academic partners. KitCube is competing in the NASA CubeQuest Lunar Derby Challenge for a chance to win a launch opportunity on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) on the Space Launch System (SLS). KitCube took 2nd place in the first Ground Tournament (GT-1), and has since partnered with Project Selene, a team of high school students from Pasadena, California, that competed in GT-1.
KitCube is designed to achieve an expected data rate of >1.5 Mbps over a 30-minute interval from lunar orbit. KitCube also serves as a technology demonstration for future miniaturized laser communications payloads, agile, high delta-V propulsion capabilities for CubeSats, and CubeSat missions to lunar orbit. The mission trajectory to achieve lunar orbit is a low energy, bi-elliptic transfer that uses multi-body gravitational effects of the Sun, Earth and Moon to reduce the velocity of KitCube by flying out to 1.7 million kilometers from the Earth, spending several weeks at the external weak stability boundary (WSB), and then falling back toward the Moon to achieve lunar orbit with reduced delta-v requirements. The propulsion system for KitCube uses a green monopropellant, AF-M315E, as a more stable, less-toxic fuel that still has a relatively high specific impulse of 220 s. Thrust will be provided by four 0.5 N thrusters. At the current time, a conservative duty cycle has been assumed for the thrusters of 30 seconds on, 5 minutes off.
KitCube has two separate communications systems, one radio frequency (RF) communications, and one free space optical (lasercom). An X-band radio, paired with the Deep Space Network (DSN), will be the primary operational communications system. KitCube will also have a backup custom, small-form factor UHF radio. The use of an optical communication system drives the need for very fine pointing and control of the spacecraft. KitCube’s attitude determination sensors include two orthogonal star trackers, six sun sensors and an inertial measurement unit (IMU). For attitude control, KitCube will use three reaction wheels, and the four thrusters will be canted towards the center along the y-axis by 2° to enable wheel desaturation and thrust vectoring. The command and data handling hardware will consist of a custom motherboard and three custom interface boards for ADCS, Communications, and Propulsion. All interface boards include Power Distribution Units (PDU’s) to provide power and fault management to the components. Primary power for KitCube will be provided by a deployable two-sided 6U solar panel and body mounted panels on all sides, providing a nominal 40W of power. Secondary power will be provided by three 30 Whr batteries that will provide a nominal power capacity of 90 Whr.
The KitCube team is participating in the second NASA ground tournament, GT-2, in March 2016, and Science and Technology Corporation (STC), the sponsor of JoSS, is one of their sponsors. To see the related crowdfunding website, see


February 2016

Announcing The SmallSat Symposium: The Small Satellite Business & Finance Show – February 23-24, 2016 – Silicon Valley, CA US

Hosted by Satnews Publishers, the SmallSat Symposium presents a two-day program of panel speakers and keynote addresses on the technologies, the business aspects, and the financial and legal acumen that comprise the foundation of today’s rapid growth in the small satellite market. A broad range of thought-provoking panels and speakers representing visionary ideas and years of business experience are brought together as never before.
See more details and register for this unique opportunity to gain forward-thinking business and financial perspectives on the small satellite market at!

September 2015

KiboCUBE Announced by UNOOSA and JAXA


The UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and JAXA recently announced the joint initiative “KiboCUBE,” to offer educational and research institutions in developing countries the opportunity to deploy CubeSats from the ISS. Applications may be submitted for this opportunity until March 31, 2016. See more, in the announcement at KiboCUBE Announcement or the press release at KiboCUBE Press Release.

June 2015

Dr. Glenn Lightsey Joins JoSS Board of Editors


JoSS is pleased to welcome a new Associate Editor-in-Chief on board, with the acceptance of Dr. E. Glenn Lightsey of a five-year term of office in this position beginning in May 2015. Dr. Lightsey joins us as a Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, and has provided invaluable assistance as a JoSS Technical Area Editor (TAE), as well as generating a good share of the articles published in our journal, since its inception. We are delighted to have Dr. Lightsey’s continued contributions in this new role!

January 2014

STC and UMBC Launch NanoSat


Working in collaboration with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Science and Technology Corporation (STC) sponsored the development of a 5 cm x 5 cm x 12.7 cm nanosat, “Qubscout-S1”, which was successfully launched to a 616 km orbit on November 21, 2013.


STC fabricated the nanosat frame, while UMBC’s Physics Department students and faculty (under Prof. J. Vanderlei Martins) developed the satellite’s sun sensor for attitude control. Qubscout-S1 was launched into sun-synchronous orbit from a Russian Dnepr LV rocket as a part of its Unisat-5 payload, along with a cluster of 28 other small satellites. After a few months of orbit, the satellite will unfold to increase drag and change its rotation rate. Data from the satellite are downlinked to radio receivers at UMBC, where students will analyze the data from the sun sensors to check their performance.


For inquiries:


STC Contact: Mark Schoeberl – ph 240-481-7390 (


UMBC Contact: Nicole Ruediger – ph 410-455-5791