At the SSPI-SEDS USA yearly student competition, SSPI members have a chance to bring their expertise and guidance to the competition by serving as mentors for the student teams. Seven teams have signed up for this year’s SEDS USA student competition: Connecting the Space Economy, with one SSPI mentor per team. The students hail from universities around the country, including Northeastern University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, Purdue University, Tennessee Tech University, University of Central Florida, and University of Oklahoma.

The 2017 competition mentors are:

  • Bradley Cheetham, President & CEO, Advanced Space and a member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter Board
  • Ariane Cornell, Business Development & Strategy Blue Origin and a member of the SSPI Board
  • Denis Curtin, member, Satellite Hall of Fame, retired COO, XSTAR
  • Jennifer Dawson, Product Assurance Program Manager, Space Systems Loral and a 2016 Promise Award winner
  • Chris Faletra, Teleport Sales Director, Comsat and a member of the Northeast Chapter Board
  • Kathleen Karika, Sales Representative, Commercial Space, Lockheed Martin Space Systems and a member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter Board
  • Sydney Skjei, President, Skjei Telecom

With the exception of Denis Curtin, all of these mentors are new to SSPI’s mentorship program. Mentors serve as guides to student team members as they work on the competition project, assisting them in overcoming the learning curve when necessary while leaving the majority of work in student hands. Click here to learn more about SSPI’s mentorship program.

About the 2017 Student Competition
The 2017 competition topic is “Connecting the Space Economy.” Commercial satellite operators are already thinking about designs for communications satellites that not only point their antennas down at Earth but upward to support future communication requirements of the Space Economy.  As asteroid mining, lunar mining and transport, in-orbit manufacturing and in-orbit assembly move from science fiction to the beginnings of development, what communication capability will be needed to support operations in Earth orbit and far beyond?  How much can existing technology contribute and what technology advances may be required?  What will it cost to create a basic network capability and see it deployed? Click here to learn more about this year’s competition and the project specifications.