SmallSat Student Winners: Where are They Now?

This year will be the 25th Frank J. Redd Student Competition at SmallSat. This competition is an amazing opportunity for students to share their work on small satellite concepts and missions. At the same time, it puts these ambitious students in the spotlight with current industry professionals (and potential employers!).

In the first 24 years of the competition, many of the winners have gone on to distinguish themselves in their profession. We caught up with a few of them to see where they have landed. This is the fourth post in a series.

John Springmann, University of Michigan. (Winner, 2011 and 2013)

On his winning projects:

The topics were similar in that they both focused on reducing cost and complexity of calibrating the attitude determination and control systems of satellites. But the underlying approach of each project was fundamentally different. One project was development of an on-orbit calibration method for magnetometers. The other project was on on-orbit calibration of single-axis sensors  and applied to sun sensors.

What he’s doing now:

I’m currently working at Spaceflight Industries in Seattle, WA, where I’m Chief Engineer for our constellation program (BlackSky line of business).

Advice for current students: ​

I’d encourage all students that are thinking of applying to go for it! The conference itself is a great opportunity to learn more about and meet lots of people in the industry. And as a finalist, your presentation will get others exposed to you and your work, and should open up opportunities for potential collaboration, networking, and perhaps even some job offers.

We’re looking forward to this year’s SmallSat conference student competition! We hope to see many future industry leaders there.

College students from across the globe compete for awards made possible through generous donations from organizations and individuals within the small satellite community. If you’d like to help us reach this year’s goal of $50,000 by contributing to the endowment fund, please donate here.

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