Ariel Sandberg was selected as a finalist in the AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites Student Competition for her paper “Streamlining CubeSat Solar Panel Fabrication Processes.” Ariel’s paper was chosen from an international competition base by a group of judges from industry, academia, and government based on its scientific merit, industry relevance and clarity of writing. As a finalist, Ariel will receive a monetary prize and present her work during the Small Sat Conference.
Solar panel characterization and assembly is a critical facet of small satellite fabrication. Though capable of producing flight quality solar subsystems, traditional methods of solar panel fabrication contain intrinsic inefficiencies and inconsistencies that compromise the subsystem’s overall performance. This investigation sought to streamline the solar panel fabrication process to increase its yield, cost effectiveness and consistent production. In the short-term, this procedure, which passed rigorous verification testing, will be implemented on Michigan Exploration Laboratory’s upcoming TBEx satellite mission. In a broader sense, this process, through its improvements to solar panel reliability and manufacturability, contributes to the knowledge base that allows small satellites to be used as meaningful tools of science.
Ariel (Ari) Sandberg is an aerospace engineering major with a passion for public policy. As a research assistant for Michigan Exploration Laboratory, Ari is spearheading efforts to improve methods of solar panel fabrication to increase the reliability of small satellites. On the side, Ari seeks out opportunities to advocate for and represent the aerospace community, interning at National Public Radio as a science journalist and advocating to Congress for continued NASA funding. Ari is currently participating in an extended internship program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, where she is working on cable harnessing for the Mars 2020 rover.