Category Archives: Members in Action

SpaceVision 2016 Photos

This year’s SpaceVision was held at Purdue University in West LaFayette, Indiana. We started our 10-hour journey Thursday morning and after checking into the hotel, spent the evening bowling in the Student Union.

img_20161106_102839 p1010022 p1010015 20161103_100430

On Friday and Saturday, we had the chance to listen to many speakers, from Tony Bruno, the CEO of United Space Alliance, to Rob Chambers of Lockheed Martin, plus representatives from the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, Google Lunar XPRIZE, Virgin Galactic, and the International Space University.img_20161105_215426 p1010031 p1010025 p1010029

We also showed lots of love for Jeff Bezos, who won the Heinlein Prize for Advances in Space Commercialization in September and donated his entire $250,000 winnings to SEDS USA.


We got home safely Sunday afternoon with plenty of stories and memories. Overall, the trip was a success and we look forward to attending SpaceVision in Cape Canaveral (!!!) next year.

p1010077 received_586628808189512

UB-SEDS at SpaceVision 2015

This year, SpaceVision was held in Boston, Massachusetts at Boston University. We have few pictures, but they capture what our members who attended the conference enjoyed most!

The trip began very late in the day, most students already exhaust from midterms, but catching up on what sleep they could to prepare for the excitement of SpcaeVision.


Outside of the event itself, our members had a chance to explore the local area some:


As well as the local shops:


More from SpaceVision itself, our members had a chance to listen to Vlada Stamenkovic, a geoscientist and theoretical physicist who explores the fundamental principles that determine the interior and surface evolution of the Earth and other planets in our solar system and beyond, as well as connecting his planetary science results to explore how humans can create artificial habitats and a sustainable society on Earth, the Moon, and Mars. He is the Simons Origin Of Life Fellow at Caltech and JPL. Here is a moment from his talk, pictured below:



Our members also captured a moment where the SEDS-USA National Board nominees were announced:


And at the end of another day, our members enjoyed a little R&R:

20151114_174735 20151114_174603

Our members arrived safely back home, and have shared plenty of stories and other photos with members who could not attend this year to encourage them to go next year. Overall, the trip was a success and we look forward to next year.


UB-SEDS at SpaceVision 2013

Arizone State University

Arizone State University, host of SpaceVision 2013

For students at the University at Buffalo, November is a foreboding time. The days are cold and windy, the sun is usually hidden behind clouds, and snow starts to blanket everything.

That’s why when Phoenix, Arizona greeted us with sun and 85° weather, it seemed like paradise on Earth. The building shown here is the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 (ISTB 4). This building, along with Armstrong Hall just across the road, was the center of SpaceVision 2013.

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Bill Nye

The opening keynote for SpaceVision was an inspirational and often amusing speech by Bill Nye (The Science Guy). The talks that followed throughout the weekend covered topics as practical as what it takes to be a successful engineer in industry, to topics as theoretical as faster than light warp drives, with everything in between. Some of the talks on Friday were on how to inspire the public to support space exploration, the current missions on Mars, and commercial spaceflight. Phil Plait—also known as The Bad Astronomer—gave Friday’s closing keynote. Saturday featured panels such as space-based robotics, the economics of space, and how science fiction drives scientific research. The closing day of SpaceVision, Sunday, had talks on space medicine and habitation, and cosmic perspectives.

One of the most popular events was the 3D astronomy show, which took place on Friday with a repeat on Saturday. During this event, the presenters took the room on a guided tour of the universe, starting from the scale of our solar system and going as far out as the Hubble Deep Field. Along the way we saw stars, constellations, and galaxies all shrink down into specks and then disappear. Everyone who attended this event left the room with a profound sense of wonder and perspective.

Not all events that took place over the weekend were restricted to students sitting down and listening to interesting talks. Time was set aside for five finalist teams to present their space based business plan to judges, and there were several groups of students that presented posters and papers from the work they’ve been involved with.

UB-SEDS Business Plan Members

UB-SEDS Business Plan Members

Among the awards, UB-SEDS won Satellite Project of the Year for their project GLADOS, and won first place in the Rocketry Challenge. In addition, UB students won third place for the business plan for “Cyberspace”, a startup which would use a constellation of small, low-cost satellites to provide internet connectivity solutions for other satellite projects (which would make it the solar system’s first space-based ISP!)

The largest and most spectacular event of the weekend was the banquet at the beautiful Tempe Mission Palms Hotel. The dinner featured the Vice President of Special Projects of Virgin Galactic, William Pomerantz, and the president and CEO of Moon Express, Dr. Bob Richards.

UB Members and SEDS-USA BoardAt the banquet, the results of the SEDS elections were announced, with UB-SEDS well represented:

Chair – Hannah Rae Kerner (UNC) – fifth from right

Vice Chair – Jack Lightholder (ASU) –fourth from right

Secretary – Andrew Harris (UB) – far left

Treasurer – John Conafay (ASU) – third from right

Chair of the Council of Chapters – Kristina Monakhova (UB) – second from left

At-Large Board Members: Arjumand Alvi (CSM) and Michael D’Angelo (Stanford) – second from right

UB student spends summer at NASA Robotics Academy

Kristina Monakhova, UB-SEDS Vice President for the 2013-2014 academic year, spent the summer at the Marshall Space Flight Center as part of the NASA Robotics Academy.  Kristina was one of 12 students across the country to participate in the Robotics Academy and had the chance to work on a robotic satellite servicing demonstration in Marshall’s Flight Robotics Laboratory.  Outside of research, the NASA Academies provide leadership development activities and expose students to the core objectives and drives of NASA.  Throughout her summer, Kristina had the chance to see a J2-X Rocket Engine Test at the Stennis Space Center, go skydiving, see a rocket launch at the Kennedy Space Center, and tour various Aerospace companies, such as ULA.

Kristina worked on developing a glove controller for an 11 degree of freedom human-like robotic arm which was used for robotic satellite servicing demonstrations.  Kristina’s team won 1st place in NASA Marshall’s intern poster contest and Kristina went on to win 2nd place in MathWork’s Simulink Student Challenge for her research.  Check out the video here.


Check out Kristina’s website and blog for more info on her research and experiences at Marshall:

Andrew Dianetti at NASA Academy

For 10 weeks during the summer of 2012, former UB-SEDS president and current Nanosat Program Manager Andrew Dianetti participated in the NASA Aeronautics Academy at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH.

During the academy, Andrew worked with a team of two other students to characterize emerging nickel-based superalloys for use in jet turbine engines. The team focused on studying the failure of ME3, an advanced, high-strength superalloy designed to increase fuel efficiency in turbine engines. Andrew was responsible for characterizing the effect of load cycling on the relaxation of residual stresses in the alloy.

The following video from NASA summarizes this effort:

Additionally, the team of 9 Aeronautics Academy members also developed a proposal for an autonomous aerial vehicle to fly on Saturn’s moon Titan. This mission, the Propelled Instrumentation System for Titan Observational Learning, or PISTOL, would characterize the surface and atmospheric conditions of Titan from an aircraft. By carrying liquid oxygen as an oxidizer, an engine was designed that combusts the hydrocarbons in Titan’s atmosphere for power. Andrew was one of two people that designed the engine.

andrew academy

UB Nanosat featured in local media

The UB Nanosat mission was recently featured in an article in the Buffalo News, as well as on the local newscasts of WGRZ (Channel 2), WIVB (Channel 4) and YNN Buffalo. Check out the following stories and segments!

UB students’ satellite to hitch ride with NASA – The Buffalo News, 3/25/13
Feather In Their Cap – WGRZ, 3/25/13
UB Students’ Project to go into Orbit – WIVB, 3/25/13
UB Students to Launch with NASA – YNN, 3/25/13

SpaceVision 2012 attracts local news coverage

The SpaceVision 2012 Conference, hosted by UB-SEDS at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, attracted the attention of some of the largest news outlets in the Buffalo area. The conference was the front page feature article of the City & Region section of the Buffalo News on Sunday, November 10, 2012. WBFO, Buffalo’s NPR Affiliate, also did a 4-minute segment on the conference that aired several times, and the UB Spectrum newspaper also ran an article. Press coverage of the event can be seen below:

Space: the private frontier – The Buffalo News, 11/10/12
Space conference gathers students seeking cosmic careers – WBFO, 11/13/12
SpaceVision unites generations at final frontier’s crossroads – UB Spectrum, 11/11/12