March 30, 2016

Contact: Jay Thompson

MEDIA ADVISORY — Cal Poly to Host Department of Defense Official for CubeSat Discussions April 1

When: Friday, April 110:40 a.m. to noon

Where: Cal Poly Engineering Plaza, between Engineering IV (No. 192), Bonderson Engineering Center (No. 197) and the Advanced Technology Labs (No. 7)

What: Navy Rear Adm. Brian Brown, a two-star admiral and the Department of Defense’s second-highest ranking space operator as the deputy commander of Joint Functional Component Command for Space, will visit Cal Poly learn of the current state of the art in CubeSat technology, explore ways in which JFCC Space’s Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base can better track the small satellites (some no more than 4-inch cubes), and discuss with Cal Poly’s provost, engineering dean and other officials how the university and VAFB can increase collaboration.

Brown, who is based at Vandenberg, will tour campus satellite facilities, before discussing ways to improve CubeSat tracking protocols. Members of the media are invited on the tour and will have an opportunity to ask questions.

One key issue for discussion is monitoring of space traffic. The JSpOC monitors some 23,000 objects orbiting the Earth, which include a growing number of CubeSats, a technology pioneered and championed by Cal Poly Professor Jordi Puig-Suari.
Cal Poly and Vandenberg have worked together since CubeSats were first developed about 17 years ago. Since then, VAFB personnel have received training at Cal Poly, while students have visited the base for specialized instruction.

At 10:40, Capt. Nick Mercurio, director of JFCC Space Public Affairs, will brief reporters about the purpose of the visit and rules of engagement for the Q&A session with Brown and Puig-Suari following the facility tour.

Directions: Lot C7 (off California Boulevard) or Lot H2 (at Highland and University drives) are closest. Meet at the Engineering Plaza on the campus’ northwestern corner. (Visit for more information.)

About CubeSats: Cal Poly has been at the forefront of CubeSat technology. These satellites are made up of multiples of 10-centimeter (4-inch) cube units. While it took nearly a dozen years to reach 100 CubeSats launched in to orbit, more than 100 have been launched in each of the past three years. Cal Poly’s CubeSat Program, through the College of Engineering, has evolved into an international collaboration of more than 100 universities, high schools, countries, private firms and the U.S. government developing satellites with scientific private and government payloads. The program prepares students for industry by providing opportunities to design, build, test, launch, and track miniature satellites. The program maintains and aspires to evolve CubeSat specifications, while providing launch vehicle integration to support the larger CubeSat community.

About Rear Adm. Brian Brown: Brown is deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, U.S. Strategic Command, Vandenberg Air Force Base. As deputy commander of JFCC SPACE, he assists the commander in directing all assigned and attached USSTRATCOM space forces providing tailored, responsive, local and global space effects in support of national, USSTRATCOM and combatant commander objectives.  He is also the head of the Navy’s Space Cadre.

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