SmallSat Student Winners: Where are They Now?

This year will be the 25th Frank J. Redd Student Competition at SmallSat. This competition is an amazing opportunity for students to share their work on small satellite concepts and missions. At the same time, it puts these ambitious students in the spotlight with current industry professionals (and potential employers!).

In the first 24 years of the competition, many of the winners have gone on to distinguish themselves in their profession. We caught up with a few of them to see where they have landed. This is the second post in a series.

DAN KWON, from MIT (1st in 2008)

On his winning project:

I was a co-winner in 2008 for my project on developing a cryogenic thermal system for cooling high temperature superconductors used for electromagnetic formation flight of satellite arrays. Potential applications include sparse apertures for interferometry, inspection satellites, or on-orbit assembly spacecraft.

What he’s doing now:

Currently, I’m a research scientist at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, CA. I do systems engineering and analysis for next generation electro-optical systems.

Some advice for current students:

The paper competition and small satellite conference is a great career opportunities multiplier… use the experience to submit your work to a journal, travel to additional conferences, and don’t forget to give back. Return as a judge, session organizer, or help spread the work.


We’re looking forward to this year’s SmallSat conference student competition! We hope to see many future industry leaders there.

College students from across the globe compete for awards made possible through generous donations from organizations and individuals within the small satellite community. If you’d like to help us reach this year’s goal of $50,000 by contributing to the endowment fund, please donate here.