News & Events


Student-Built Satellite Telescope Prepares for Space


After nearly a decade of work, a modular reconfigurable space telescope designed by students in the Ae 105 Aerospace Engineering class is nearly ready to launch. That telescope, which came to be known as AAReST (Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope), was designed and built in large part by the students in the class, working in collaboration with the Surrey Space Centre in England and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology. Professor Pellegrino says that the students working on AAReST have learned how to collaborate across continents and gained skills that will continue to serve them for years to come. In addition, he says, he's proud to have given several generations of aerospace students the opportunity to work on a real space mission. When the mission launches in 2019, dozens of past and present Caltech students—along with their collaborators nearby and abroad—will be watching and holding their breath to see whether their hard work pays off. [Caltech story]

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Graduate Student Places 4th in National Soaring Competition


GALCIT Graduate student Michael Marshall, who is a member of Professor Sergio Pellegrino’s Space Structures Laboratory, has received the Rudolph W. Mozer Trophy from the Soaring Society of America (SSA) for being the highest ranking contestant under 26 years of age at any U.S. National Soaring contest. He also placed 4th in the U.S. National Soaring contest. Soaring involves flying without flapping wings or using engine power, or as described by the SSA “to fly as the hawk and eagle has been mankind's dream for centuries. Modern sailplanes make soaring flight possible, and with them humans can fly higher, faster, and farther than the greatest of birds, using only an invisible force of nature to stay aloft.” [SSA news]

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Modular Space Telescope Could Be Assembled By Robot


Professor Sergio Pellegrino and colleagues including Professor Joel Burdick, are proposing a space observatory with a 100 meters diameter primary mirror. Their design calls for the use of more than 300 deployable truss modules that could be unfolded to form a scaffolding upon which a commensurate number of small mirror plates could be placed to create a large segmented mirror. In this concept, a spider-like, six-armed "hexbot" would assemble the trusswork and then crawl across the structure to build the mirror atop it. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Sergio Pellegrino Joel Burdick

Tyler Okamoto Receives 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award


Mechanical Engineering student Tyler Okamoto, mentored by Professor Sergio Pellegrino, is a recipient of the 2016 Henry Ford II Scholar Award. He is working with Professor Pellegrino’s team to build an autonomous reconfigurable space telescope using multiple nanosatellites that align in space to create a camera and mirror assembly. The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is funded under an endowment provided by the Ford Motor Company Fund. The award is made annually to engineering students with the best academic record at the end of the third year of undergraduate study.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Henry Ford II Scholar Award Sergio Pellegrino Tyler Okamoto

Sergio Pellegrino Elected President of the IASS


Professor Sergio Pellegrino, Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Civil Engineering; Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist, has been elected President of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS). The IASS, founded in 1959, aims to further progress through an interchange of ideas among all those interested in lightweight structural systems such as lattice, tension, membrane, and shell structures. [New Officers of IASS]

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Space Solar Power Initiative


Caltech and Northrop Grumman Corporation have signed a $17.5 million sponsored research agreement for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). The initiative will develop technologies in three areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics; ultralight deployable space structures; and phased array and power transmission. "The Space Solar Power Initiative brings together electrical engineers, applied physicists, and aerospace engineers in the type of profound interdisciplinary collaboration that is seamlessly enhanced at a small place like Caltech... We are working on extremely difficult problems that could eventually provide the world with new, and very cost-competitive technology for sustainable energy,” said EAS Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech story] [Northrop Grumman Release]

Tags: APhMS EE energy research highlights GALCIT Harry Atwater Ares Rosakis Ali Hajimiri Sergio Pellegrino

Using Space Wisely


The Winter 2013 issue of Engineering & Science features Professor Sergio Pellegrino's Space Structures Laboratory in the Guggenheim building. “The goal for much of my work,” says Pellegrino, “is to make simpler and cheaper spacecraft. I want to use clever structural engineering to make access to space more affordable.” The article also describes him and his team's work on the AAReST project (Autonomous Assembly of a Reconfigurable Space Telescope) as well as applications of his work to solar concentrators. [E&S Article]

Tags: energy research highlights GALCIT Sergio Pellegrino

AIAA Gossamer Systems Forum Best Paper Award


Professor Sergio Pellegrino and colleagues, including GALCIT graduate student Gina Olson, have received the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 14th Gossamer Systems Forum Best Paper Award for their paper entitled "Deployable Helical Antennas for CubeSats". The Gossamer Systems Forum addresses recent research findings and newly proposed concepts concerning the emerging class of large-scale, lightweight structures that is enabling a paradigm shift in design, launch, and operation of spaceflight systems. [Read the paper]

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Professor Pellegrino Receives ASME Best Paper Award


The paper entitled "Manufacture of Arbitrary Cross-Section Composite Honeycomb Cores Based on Origami Techniques" by Sergio Pellegrino, Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Civil Engineering as well as Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist, and co-authors Taketoshi Nojima and Kazuya Saito has been selected as the winner of the ASME Design Engineering Division Mechanisms and Robotics Committee Best Paper Award. Professor Pellegrino and colleagues were presented the award at the 37th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference. [Learn more about Prof. Pellegrino's research]

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Aerospace Graduate Student Receives Young Investigator Award


Graduate student Francisco Lopez Jimenez, working with Professor Sergio Pellegrino, has been awarded a Young Investigator Award at the 8th European Solid Mechanics Conference. He received the award in recognition of his presentation, “Folding and Strain Softening of Carbon Fiber Composites with an Elastomeric Matrix.”

Tags: honors GALCIT Sergio Pellegrino Francisco Lopez Jimenez