Satellite telecommunications company Astranis Space Technologies Corp., in partnership with NanoRacks, a leading provider of commercial access to space, is donating a 1U CubeSat launch to Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, USA (SEDS-USA) to kick off the SEDS SAT-2 competition next month.
The Astranis SEDS SAT-2 competition will call on SEDS chapters across the country to submit a design for a novel 1U CubeSat that will then be launched and deployed by NanoRacks, LLC, with Astranis footing the cost of the launch. “We’re really excited for the opportunity to give back to an organization that has developed so many leaders in the space industry. Flying real hardware is what matters in this business. We’re not just giving students the opportunity to do that, but I’d bet we’ll see some components fly that have never flown in space before.” says John Gedmark, CEO of Astranis and former President of Purdue SEDS.
SEDS is a 501(c)3 non-profit that empowers young people to participate and make an impact in space exploration. SEDS helps students develop their technical and leadership skills by providing opportunities to manage and participate in national projects as well as to attend conferences, publish their work, and develop their professional network. Astranis’ co-founders, John Gedmark and Ryan McLinko, were heavily involved with SEDS as students and credit the organization with laying the foundation for many of their successes to date.
Ryan McLinko, CTO and co-founder of Astranis and former MIT SEDS President sees this as a way to help students get the hands-on experience they need to expedite their careers in the burgeoning New Space community. “The thing that I always wish that I saw more of on candidates’ resumes was more hands-on experience building hardware systems to accomplish challenging objectives. I’m excited to be able to help enable these students to gain the skills they will need to excel in their future careers,” says McLinko. “With the commercial space industry growing at an exponential rate, organizations like SEDS provide opportunities to thousands of students across the country and around the world to get valuable experience through competitions.”
The competition will officially open at SpaceVision 2018, SEDS-USA’s annual conference, and the largest student-run space conference in the world. SpaceVision 2018 will be hosted by SEDS-UCSD and will feature a free NanoRacks workshop for pre-registered teams to learn about designing, building, and integrating a CubeSat for low-Earth orbit.
“All of us at NanoRacks are excited to help bring this launch opportunity into the hands of students,” says NanoRacks External Payloads Manager, Conor Brown. “I look forward to working with the SEDS CubeSat teams at SpaceVision 2018 and teaching them about what it really takes to fly a small satellite and deploy it from a manned platform.”
The first SEDS satellite SEDS SAT-1 was launched in the early nineties, well before small satellites became commonplace. “There are plenty of simulations and imagined scenarios of this mission or another that young professionals can work on. But this? For our students, this will be a tangible project they will have control over from conceptualization to launch and beyond. It doesn’t get much more real than that,” said Miekkal Clarkson, Executive Director of SEDS-USA.
This competition will be open to all official SEDS chapters, and SEDS welcomes new chapters to join and become a part of the SEDS community. Interested students can find out more about starting their own SEDS chapter here. To attend the CubeSat workshop that will be held at SpaceVision 2018, students can pre-register under the Projects, SEDS SAT-2 section at, with a deadline of 11:59 PM October 28th, 2018. Details and official rules and guidelines will be released at SpaceVision 2018.
For any media inquiries, please contact John Conafay at For any SEDS related questions, please contact Miekkal Clarkson at