Contact: Amy Hewes

Cal Poly Engineers Played Big Role in SmallSat ‘Mission of the Year’

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly Engineering played a pivotal role in a small satellite test flight named Mission of the Year by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Conducted by The Planetary Society, the mission tested the LightSail, a small satellite uniquely powered by solar panels that unfurl after the satellite is catapulted into orbit. Cal Poly designed the avionics and UHF communication circuit boards for the CubeSat mission and was the lead organization for commanding the satellite.

The award was presented Aug. 13 at the annual AIAA/Utah State University Conference on Small Satellites. The spacecraft test mission, called LightSail-A, was selected as Mission of the Year by the AIAA Small Satellite Technical Committee out of 12 standout small satellite projects from around the world.

The Planetary Society is a non-governmental space advocacy group founded by Carl Sagan and now headed by Bill Nye, widely known as “The Science Guy” from his long-running science education series on television.

For complete coverage of the LightSail test flight and details about the LightSail mission scheduled for 2016, visit The Planetary Society’s website at

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