The Satellites team builds imaging and scientific CubeSats, sensors, distributed networks, and an optical communication system.

Team Leads


Flynn Dreilinger

[email protected]

Grant Regen

[email protected]




Polar Orbiting INfrared Tracking Receiver (POINTR) is an in flight demonstration of an optical receiver pointing, acquisition and tracking (PAT) system. The optical receiver payload hosted on Audacy’s 3U cubesat would be pointed to the ground to acquire and track a beacon laser sent from a suitable ground facility, currently proposed as NASA JPL’s OCTL facility. This mission would demonstrate the operational and technical requirements related to two satellites establishing an optical communications link with each other. The requirements include mission planning, command and execution of a pointing maneuver, acquisition of an incoming optical signal and tracking of the optical signal. It is planned to launch in early 2018.

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QB50 Discovery

QB50 is an international effort between universities to install a network of distributed satellites with a focus on scientific data acquisition, particularly with application to space weather and the environment. This is a collaboration between SSI, Stanford SSDL, and NASA Ames.

Optical Communications

Optical Communications is a student-led project aiming to develop the capability to establish high-bandwidth data links over free space. The group is beginning the initial design phase of a two-Cubesat optical communications mission, which will be the first nanosatellite mission to demonstrate intersatellite laser communications over distances of approximately 100-200km.

Demo Image


SNAPS (Stanford Nano Picture Satellite) is a project co-sponsored by SSI and Stanford SSDL. SNAPS is a 1/4 U Cubesat with 1080p camera and integrated photoprocessing and analysis with downlink capability. SNAPS launched at the end of 2015.

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