MAE Seminar – Making Space Accessible with Maneuverable Small Satellites


12:45 pm-1:45 pm
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MAE-A Room 303
939 Sweetwater Drive
Gainesville, FL 32611


MAE Seminar – Making Space Accessible with Maneuverable Small Satellites

Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at 12:50pm, Location: NVIDIA Auditorium, Malachowsky Hall

E. Glenn Lightsey, Professor of Space Systems Technology, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Space exploration has experienced unprecedented growth in the 21st century, and universities are filling a leading role in this expansion. In addition to supplying talented graduates who are redefining the space industry, university research labs are the early adopters and demonstrators of new technologies and mission concepts which are then commercialized and scaled by private and government stakeholders.

This seminar describes activities at Georgia Tech to miniaturize spacecraft propulsion systems for use on small satellites and employ them in university demonstration missions. Small spacecraft maneuverability provides a more accessible and sustainable space infrastructure for future growth and exploration objectives. Propulsion is a key enabler for advanced concepts including planetary exploration, spacecraft formation flying, in-space servicing, assembly and manufacturing, inspection and situational awareness, collision avoidance and space debris management. Georgia Tech is conducting several CubeSat missions that employ its in-house developed propulsion systems, including Lunar Flashlight (launched in 2022), VIrtual Super-resolution Optics with Reconfigurable Swarms (VISORS) (launching in October 2024), and Green Propellant Dual Mode (GPDM) mission (launching in 2026).

In response to the growth of space research across a broad range of technical disciplines, Georgia Tech is founding a new Space Interdisciplinary Research Initiative. An overview of the new institute is also presented.

Dr. E. Glenn Lightsey is the David Lewis Professor of Space Systems Technology in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech. Since 2023, he serves as the Interim Director of the Institute’s Interdisciplinary Space Research Initiative. From 2016 to 2023, he was the director of the Center for Space Technology And Research and the director of the Space Systems Design Lab at Georgia Tech. His research program focuses on the technology of small satellites, including: guidance, navigation, and control systems; attitude determination and control; formation flying, satellite swarms, and satellite networks; cooperative control; proximity operations and autonomous spacecraft rendezvous; space-based global navigation systems; radionavigation; propulsion; satellite operations; and space systems engineering. Dr. Lightsey founded two companies which invent and commercialize space technology, one of which was acquired by a larger company. Dr. Lightsey has authored and co-authored more than 180 technical publications and four book chapters. He is an AIAA Fellow. He is Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Small Satellites. Dr. Lightsey has received the AIAA’s Mechanics and Control of Flight Award, the John Leland Atwood Award, and the Institute of Navigation’s Tycho Brahe Award.

MAE Faculty Host: Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy


Hosted by

Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy