SEDS Rice Spring 2020 Update

Dear Friends of SEDS Rice,

I hope you are all safe and well during these difficult times. While the global pandemic greatly altered all our lives, our members persevered and accomplished many goals during the Spring 2020.

I am proud to share that the SEDS Rice OwlSat CubeSat team was selected in the 11th round of the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative in February. OwlSat was one of 18 satellites selected to earn a ride share as an auxiliary payload on a launch vehicle sponsored by NASA. OwlSat’s primary mission is to gather extreme ultraviolet radiation data from the sun to enable researchers to develop more accurate orbital prediction models using machine learning. The team continues to achieve milestones and is preparing for a full design review in early Fall of this year. Students, faculty, alumni, and staff are encouraged to send their name to space on the OwlSat CubeSat set to launch in January 2022.

Additionally, SEDS Rice has undertaken two new projects this semester. SEDS has formed two new competition rover teams to compete in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge and the NASA Robotics Mining Rover Competition in the Spring of 2021. Both teams have begun designing their rovers and are excited to represent Rice at these competitions.

SEDS started a new lecture series named the SEDS Lecture Series to connect students to professors in space related careers. This panel informed students about the many pathways into aerospace careers. SEDS officers also spoke with students at Seven Lakes High School to inspire them to engage with space.

On February 22nd, SEDS hosted the 2020 Owls in Space Symposium with Keynote Speaker NASA Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer and Special Guest NASA Deputy Associate Administrator Melanie Saunders. The Symposium improved upon the inaugural symposium and gained a great increase in student attendance from universities across Texas including 5 SEDS chapters and the SEDS-USA Executive Director. With 15 companies in attendance during the dedicated networking session, over 200 students connected with aerospace professionals. SEDS will release more information about the 2021 Owls in Space Symposium in the Fall of this year.

While the world pandemic caused new challenges, I am proud of our resilient SEDS members. The team’s commitment earned the chapter the inaugural SEDS-USA Chapter of the Month Award and the Rice Student Activities Program of the Year Award. I personally would like to thank all our members for their continued passion to connect students with space.

SEDS Rice thanks all our supporters and sponsors throughout the Spring of 2020 and a special thanks to Dr. David Alexander and the Rice Space Institute team for supporting the program since its founding. Make sure to connect with SEDS Rice and thank you all for your continued support.


Ryan Udell

President | SEDS Rice

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