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Making Leaders Podcast: Lessons from the Father of the Cubesat - A Conversation with Emeritus Professor Robert Twiggs

In this Making Leaders podcast, we hear from Professor Robert Twiggs, Emeritus Professor – Astronautics at Morehead State University. Prof. Twiggs is best known in the space and satellite industry and academia as the “Father of the CubeSat” for his co-development of the CubeSat reference design and P-Pod Deployer for miniaturized satellites at Stanford University, alongside Professor Jordi Puig-Suari of California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo. His design has become the de-facto industry standard for Pico satellites since its development in 1998, with over 1,600 successful launches to this day. Prof. Twiggs has also developed and co-developed other original concepts, including the CricketSat, CanSat, ThinSat and the PocketQube for educational applications in space.

While at Stanford University, Prof. Twiggs began searching for the solution to a problem of academic timing for students. He was troubled by how long satellites students took to design and assemble their first satellite at Stanford – OPEL – that had taken 6 years to produce, 5 years longer than the average master’s program. Prof. Twiggs found his inspiration at a plastic store, of all places, when he realized that the perfect size for a satellite that students could make was a 4-inch cube, a beanie baby box. He proposed the idea of a CubeSat with Professor Puig-Suari at a conference in Hawaii in 1999. Prof. Twiggs was inducted into the Space & Satellite Hall of Fame in 2022. Learn more about Prof. Twiggs.




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