Science On Tap: Honey, Have You Seen My CubeSat?

Rebecca Holmes

projectY cowork News:

Join the next Science On Tap, presented by the Los Alamos Creative District and the Bradbury Science Museum, Monday, Oct., 15 for a discussion with Rebecca Holmes on CubeSats.

The On Tap series starts at 5:30 p.m. at UnQuarked Wine Room and is free and open to the public.

Originally designed in 1999 by professors at Stanford and Cal Poly, CubeSats are miniature, short-lived satellites traditionally launched into low Earth orbit. This summer a pair was deployed on a mission to Mars aboard the stationary lander, InSight.

CubeSats initial purpose was to enable students to construct and operate artificial satellites within a constrained timeframe and the humble budgets of a graduate degree program. Since then CubeSats have become increasingly popular and are used by universities, the military, commercial projects, and even among individual hobbyists. 

With more than 800 of these tiny, toaster-sized gadgets currently circling our planet and many more set to launch in the near future, identifying unique CubeSats in the Earth-orbiting crowd has become increasingly challenging for those operating them. The ability to locate and track a single CubeSat can mean the success or failure of its mission. 

At Los Alamos, researchers have developed tiny laser trackers to address this burgeoning dilemma. Created by the Lab’s Intelligence and Space Research Division, the Extremely Low Resource Optical Identifier or “ELROI” uses identification codes embedded in pulses of light to identify these small-scale satellites.

For more information on these electronic “license plates,” attend Science On Tap Monday at UnQuarked in Los Alamos for a conversation with Holmes about ELROI, one of the Lab’s latest innovations.

Benefit for Bradbury Science Museum Association members

Bring your Bradbury Science Museum Association membership card (or join on the spot—at very reasonable rates) and get $1 off your food and/or drink during Science On Tap.

About the On Tap Series

Science On Tap is sponsored by the Los Alamos Creative District and hosted by the Bradbury Science Museum. The On Tap series begins each evening with an informal 10-15 minute lecture followed by a lively group discussion.

On Tap is a way for people to get out and about in the community, learn something new, and meet people with similar interests. The “On Tap” series happens twice a month. The discussions are supported by Bradbury Science Museum, Fuller Lodge Art Center, Los Alamos Historical Society and PEEC at The Nature Center.

The Los Alamos Creative District is a program of Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation, a private, not-for-profit economic and community development organization. LACDC serves as the umbrella organization for the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos MainStreet, Discover Los Alamos, Los Alamos Small Business Center, projectY cowork Los Alamos and the Los Alamos Research Park.