Committee

Pat Patterson

Conference Chair

With nearly 30 years of experience in the space industry, Dr. Patterson has a distinctive and broad history in space systems engineering for upper atmospheric research as well as small satellites, and mission operations planning and directing. Dr. Patterson is currently the Director of Advanced Concepts at Utah State University’s (USU) Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL). He is also the Chair of the annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites. Other roles include membership on the AIAA Small Satellite Technical Committee, the Technical Committee for the European Space Agency 4S Symposium, and the Scientific Program Committee for the IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation. Dr. Patterson also serves as an Industrial Advisory Committee member for USU’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department.

Charles Swenson

Associate Chair

Charles is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at USU and earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University. His research activities are divided between space science, instrumentation for measuring the space environment, space systems engineering and small satellites, and he is the PI and academic adviser for USU's Student Small Satellite Program. Charles also serves as Director of the Space Instrumentation Laboratory and the Center for Space Engineering at USU. In addition, he has served sabbaticals as a Geospace Discipline Scientist, NASA Science Mission Directorate/Heliophysics, and as a Senior Scientist at The Aerospace Corporation. 

Aaron Rogers

Technical Chair

Aaron has nearly 20 years of direct experience with the development of space and launch systems for numerous DoD, NASA, and commercial programs. Presently, Aaron serves as a Program Manager and is a former Mission System Engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Prior to joining APL, Aaron held technical and management positions with AeroAstro and Lockheed Martin. He has authored multiple publications relating to small spacecraft systems and enabling technologies and holds an appointment with the Space Systems Engineering program at Johns Hopkins University. Aaron earned a B.S. in Aeronautics & Astronautics from MIT and an M.S. in Applied Physics from The Johns Hopkins University.

Jordi Puig-Suari

Technical Chair, Pre-Conference Workshop

Dr. Puig-Suari received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. Degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University. His areas of expertise include spacecraft design, low-cost space systems, integration and testing, and vehicle dynamics and control. In 1999, Dr Puig-Suari and Prof. Bob Twiggs at Stanford developed the CubeSat standard. Dr. Puig-Suari has maintained a leadership role in the CubeSat community and he is the chair for 2 yearly CubeSat workshops held in the U.S. and is the faculty advisor for Cal Poly’s CubeSat team. In 2011, Dr. Puig-Suari co-founded Tyvak Nano-satellite Systems to support the commercial CubeSat market and is currently Tyvak’s CSO.

Stanley O. Kennedy, Jr.

Technical Chair, Frank J. Redd Student Competition

Stanley has over thirty years of direct, hands-on experience in Aerospace Engineering and has worked on heavy-lift launch vehicles, upper stages, multiple spacecraft programs and ground systems supporting government and commercial customers both domestic and international. Stanley earned his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from California State Polytechnic University and an M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Colorado. Stanley is an Associate Fellow and Lifetime member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) serving at the regional and national levels. He is also a member of the Technical Committee of the Small Satellite Systems & Service (4S) Symposium. Stanley has held technical and management/executive positions with Comtech AeroAstro, General Dynamics – Advanced Information Systems, and Lockheed-Martin Space Systems Company. Currently, Stanley serves as the President of Oakman Aerospace, Inc. OAI specializes in Rapid & Responsive, Modular, Open-Architecture Systems.

Valerie Skarupa

Endowment Chair, Frank J. Redd Student Competition

Ms Valerie Skarupa has 26 years of experience in strategic planning, policy and acquisition development, program management, business development and operations, communications, and contracting for air and space programs. She is currently the Director of Government Business for Spaceflight Industries in the Launch and Integration Services Sector. She is responsible for executing strategies to maintain and grow Spaceflight’s Military and Civil Aerospace services in the areas of: mission management, launch vehicle integration, and routine access to space. Previously, Ms Skarupa was the Director of Strategic Programs for Schafer Corporation working in the Military Aerospace Sector focused on the Space Situational Awareness, Directed Energy, and Counter Space mission areas. Ms Skarupa was also a Civil Servant for the Department of Defense for 24 years.

Marianne Sidwell

Conference Administrator

As Conference Administrator, Marianne oversees the design, development, and execution of the Small Satellite Conference, including management of the technical program and student competition. She has over 15 years of event planning experience; most recently as Executive Director of one of the largest art festivals in Utah, Summerfest Arts Faire in Logan. She graduated from Utah State University and has spent much of her career as an Arts Administrator in the non-profit sector. She is a member of the Utah "Change Leaders" through the Utah Division of Arts and Museums.

Candace Malmstrom

Exhibit Manager

As Exhibit Manager, Candace is responsible for exhibition and sponsorship management as well as assisting with the planning and execution of all Conference events. She has over ten years of experience in managing and planning events for multiple corporate and community organizations such as: Habitat for Humanity, Hal Leonard Publishing and Art of Womanhood.

Lauren Word

Logistics Coordinator

Lauren is responsible for facilitating logistics for the conference. Specific duties include: catering, facilities, social media, inventory, mailing lists, and banners/signage. Previously, she worked as a Property Assistant at the USU Research Foundation. She graduated from Utah State University with a BA degree in Art. Lauren has been involved in volunteer work planning youth tours in Washington D.C. and coordinates monthly events for young single adults.

Jenny Durrant

Scheduling Coordinator

Jenny is responsible for supporting the SmallSat conference team coordinating side meetings, meeting space, lodging, shipping logistics and in building the conference Smart Phone app. Her last position was at Utah State University coordinating the leasing for USU Housing. She studied secondary education at Utah State University.