Meetings Blog

July 29, 2013

4S Symposium 2012, Portoroz, Slovenia, Jun 4-8, 2012

Dr. Luca Maresi, ESA/ESTEC, 4S Co-Chair

The 4S in the beautiful coastal setting of Portoroz, Slovenia, was attended by 338 persons coming from 35 different Nations representing 200 companies and research institutions. A delegation of 50 Slovenians attended the event, demonstrating that the event reached its objective of promoting Space activities in the new-comer Space Countries. The number of participants increased 20% with respect to 2010 (with 246 participants), even without counting the Slovenian participants.


Photo 1: Coastal View of Portoroz, Slovenia Photo 2: Loc Boloh (CNES) and Dr. Luca Maresi (ESA/ESTC) co-chairs of the 4S Symposium 2012

Photo 3: Daniel Hernandez, retired from CNES and founder of the 4S Symposium, and Luca Maresi, ESA/ESTEC, Co-Chair of 4S Symposium 2012.


Photo Credit: Pat Deepak


Feb 10, 2012


4th European CubeSat Symposium, Brussels, BE, Jan 30-Feb 1, 2012
3rd QB50 Coordination Workshop, von Karman Institute (VKI),
Rhode-St-Genèse, BE, Feb 2, 2012

Ravi Deepak, ADP/JoSS,

There was a strong showing of “CubeSat-ers” at the 4th Annual European CubeSat Symposium in Brussels, Belgium. The Symposium convened at the prestigious Ecole Royale Militaire, with its guarded entrance on Rue Hobbema (which the taxi drivers would jokingly call “Obama” Street to humor me, noticing my American accent.) The gathering received a warm welcome, offsetting the chill of the Belgium winter. Dr. Ruedeger Reinhard (Photo 6, on left), one of the Symposium’s organizers in 2008, partnered with the von Karman Institute’s Drs. Jean Muylaert (Photo 1, 6) and Cem Asma (Photo 1, 2) to host this year’s event, which was conveniently followed up by the 3rd QB50 Coordination Workshop at VKI located 40 km away.


Photo 1: Group photo, Jean Muylaert on the left


Over the two-and-a-half day Symposium, near 80 talks were presented to the audience of more than 200 participants in the Ecole’s main conference hall. The talks were split into 12 sections, addressing such topics as networks/constellations, biology and microgravity experiments, orbital dynamics, and future technologies (refer to Dr. John Hines (photo 3) of NASA Ames Research Center, California, USA, gave an invited paper; he described NASA’s conducting several successful Small-Sat missions in which he was involved, including biological experiments.


Photos 2, 3, 4, 5: Cem Asma, John Hines, Jean-Pierre Contzen, Luca Maresi


Many of the talks and much of the excitement focused on the upcoming QB50 mission and workshop that was to follow the conference. QB50 is a testament to the innovative culture in the Cubesat community. QB50 is being coordinated by the von Karman Institute (VKI), specifically Dr. Reinhard, Dr. Muylaert, and Dr. Asma ( This Workshop marked the third of the series, and the first after the European Space Agency (ESA) funded the project’s management in November 2011. The proposal deadline for QB50 is scheduled for the end of March, 2012; and based on the unexpectedly large number of participants in attendance at the QB50 Workshop, it seemed that it would be fairly easy to fill the 50 slots.


Cem was impressed by the reception of the workshop, as the attendees overflowed the auditorium. But it showed the excitement and enthusiasm of the Cubesat-ers to participate in such a massive undertaking. Many countries both inside and outside of the European Union have embraced QB50, showing the connectivity of the CubeSat community. The QB50 steering committee (Photo 6) is currently composed of 11 key people, including Drs. Jean Muylaert, Ruedeger Reinhard, Daniel Faber, Cesar Bernal, Jeroen Rotteveel, Alan Smith, Dhiren Kataria, Muriel Richard, Vaios Lappas and Cem Asma.


The network of CubeSats will be deployed in the lower thermosphere, without endangering the International Space Station. Each CubeSat is divided in two payloads, the “scientific” and “functional” units; the QB50 Working Group on Sensor Selection will provide the scientific unit. The “functional” unit will be available for the teams to design, and will include power, cpu, telecommunications. It seems as though already a handful of Cubesat companies have designed the “functional” units, or will do so to assist the teams.


Photo 6: Group photo, Ruedeger Reinhard on the left


It was a pleasure to meet several JoSS Editors at the two meetings. We at JoSS are excited to see what lies ahead for the project, and look forward to receiving papers describing original research on different topical areas for publishing in the peer-reviewed Journal of Small Satellites ( ©