UB undergraduate places third in student paper competition at the IAA Symposium on Small Satellites

Seamus Lombardo's paper on a novel, low cost method for reaction wheel torque characterization in small satellites earned third place in IAA's student paper competition.

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published June 5, 2017

Seamus Lombardo, an undergraduate aerospace engineering major, earned third place in the Student Competition at the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Symposium on Small Satellites, held in Berlin, Germany.

"Seamus was up against some very tough competition from PhD and master’s level students from around the world. The fact that he placed third in this group is a testament to the high quality of his work."
John Crassidis, CUBRC Professor in Space Situational Awareness
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Lombardo is also the program manager of GLADOS (Glint Analyzing Data Observation Satellite), a miniature satellite being designed to gather light curve data on space debris and part of UB’s Nanosatellite Laboratory.

Tracking space debris requires fine control over the spacecraft’s orientation. The paper describes a novel, low cost method to test that GLADOS will be able to output the correct torque and thus meet the requirements of the mission.

It was the only paper authored by an undergraduate in the competition.

 “I have been making connections and spreading the word about our UB Nanosatellite Lab with all the very interesting academics and industry members attending the conference,” said Lombardo. “It was very cool to represent UB and the U.S. and I think that it will help to grow the great program we are developing here in UB’s Nanosat Lab.”

The student papers were evaluated by an international committee of experts including representatives from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Space Commercial Services Holdings (SCSH) in South Africa, and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the space agency of the Government of India.

“We are extremely proud of Seamus. He was up against some very tough competition from PhD and master’s level students from around the world. The fact that he placed third in this group is a testament to the high quality of his work,” said John Crassidis, principal investigator of UB’s Nanosatellite Laboratory, CUBRC Professor in Space Situational Awareness in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Director of UB’s Center for Multisource Information Fusion.

The awards for the winners of the Student Prize Paper Competition were presented during the IAA dinner on April 25, 2017.

Seamus Lombardo (second from right) joins the other winners and some judges of the IAA Student Prize Paper Competition in a group photo.