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AE285 Undergraduate Seminar: Beam Me Down, Scotty: JPL’s First Spaceborne Optical Comm Experiment

Bogdan Oaida, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Oaida photo Oaida photo
Bogdan Oaida (BSAE ‘08), Jet Propulsion Laboratory

At a place where one-of-a-kind spacecraft is the name of the game, OPALS has amassed a lengthy list of firsts given its small size and scope. From its implementation as a Phaeton project to its unconventional thermal design to numerous launch delays, OPALS has sometimes defied and other times defined a new class of JPL projects. Launched in April 2014 on the third SpaceX ISS resupply mission, OPALS operated aboard the Station for nearly 3 years, during which it transmits JPL’s first data stream via an optical link from space to ground, downlinked to one US and three international optical ground stations, and characterized the local vibration environment.

Told from the “hindsight is 20-20” perspective, the talk will discuss what made OPALS a success while also taking a look at a number of the mistakes that have led to cost overruns and numerous postponements. Also covered will be the interface with the ISS, the experience with SpaceX, and results from operations.

About the speaker

Bogdan Oaida was the OPALS Project Systems Engineer from the time the project was conceived in 2009, through the prime mission and extended operations until OPALS was deorbited on SpaceX CRS 10 in March of 2017. He was the longest-tenured team member. He received a B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering in 2007 and M.Eng in Space Engineering in 2008, both from The University of Michigan. Bogdan has also worked on a number of Earth-sensing mission concepts and proposals. Since 2014 he has been a Payload Systems Engineer for the Europa Clipper Mission where he serves as the technical interface between the Clipper Project and two of the instrument teams, the Mapping Imaging Spectrometer for Europa (MISE) and the SUrface Dust Analyzer (SUDA).
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When and Where

Map Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Building - 1109 Boeing Lecture Hall

December 2017

1:30pm - 3:00pm

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