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AIMS Seminar on Biologically inspired cellular morphology for future space systems

For the past 50 years, the morphology for satellites has remained fundamentally unchanged despite evolutions in manufacturing, communications, and software occurring in other industries. Primary spacecraft support systems—power, attitude control, and others—are designed in the same way, whether in space telescopes, large communications satellites, interplanetary spacecraft, or Cubesats.

This paradigm has been the status quo in spacecraft design and construction and has precluded any industry-wide, large-scale cost savings. While decreasing the size of satellites is one means of driving lower-cost solutions, the reliability, resolution, data rate and other performance measures of these small satellites are often vastly reduced. To change this trend and ensure performance and utility at low cost, the fundamental architecture of satellite morphology is proposed, to a cellularized satellite, or “satlet,” as a satellite architectural unit.

Each satlet would provide some fraction of the overall functions that, when aggregated via hardware and software, provide the spacecraft with its complete required capabilities. If satlets are able to form the foundation for most, if not all, spacecraft, opportunities will exist for higher levels of production and cost reduction without loss of performance, as well as a whole new paradigm on how platforms are built, on orbit.

Host: Professor Jonathan Gammell, Lead of the Estimation, Search, and Planning (ESP) as a Departmental Lecturer in Robotics at the Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI).

Speaker: Professor David Barnhart, Research Professor in the Department of Astronautical Engineering at USC, and the Director/Co- Founder of the USC Space Engineering Research Center at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI). 


No registration necessary - just come along!


About the speaker:

At USC David specialises in developing innovative technologies and architectures for 2nd generation space morphologies, rendezvous and proximity operations technologies/techniques, and hands-on projects with students, faculty and staff through an “engineering teaching hospital” construct.  The SERC created and launched USC’s first two Cubesat’s into space in 2010 and 2012, and just completed its third in 2018.  Over 200 students have graduated through the SERC’s hands on training capabilities and every summer hosts US and international student interns. David was most recently a senior space Project Manager at DARPA, pioneering cellular spacecraft morphologies, satbotics, space robotics and low cost high volume manufacturing on the Phoenix and SeeMe projects. David helped initiate two commercial space companies; Millennium Space Systems in Los Angeles CA; and a German startup in Bremen, Vanguard Space, one of the first companies working commercial spacecraft servicing. David has a Bachelors from Boston University and Master of Engineering from Virginia Tech both in Aerospace and Ocean engineering.  He has published over 40 research papers and articles and speaks on 2nd generation space technologies nationally and internationally.