Kristina Forystek – a Digital Module Engineer – first learned about SEAKR at the Small Satellite Conference. Small Sat – as it is commonly referred to – provides professionals in the small satellite industry a chance to introduce emerging technologies, network with other professionals, and speak with experts in the military, science, and academic fields. This annual gathering is held at Utah State University in Logan, UT in August.
“In college, I worked on cubesats, which are 10 cm cubed nano-satellites. I got to learn all aspects of getting a piece equipment in space – everything from developing it, building it to specs and testing it. We had our own testing facilities on campus too. I got to learn a lot about space and I knew I wanted to stay in the satellite region. It was such a rush to develop them and send them up in space in a relatively fast time frame.”
Forystek smiled as she reminisced about her very first introduction to space – all thanks to NASA and CubeSat – an undergraduate research facility.
“NASA has a program – the ELaNa program that provides students free rides to space on rockets in exchange for the development of cubesats. Basically, if you are research based and part of an academic university, like our CubeSat research facility, then you get a free ride in space. Other companies will also come in and offer to bankroll our satellite. It’s a win-win for all three parties. It’s amazing because we would get these grants from these companies, build a cubesat from their spec and usually its research based – there would be some payload in there that was researching to further space exploration – and then we would send these cubesats into space. They would take us about four years to build and then it would have about a year lifetime span in space before it would de-orbit.”
Her sophomore year at Cal Poly, Forystek was given the opportunity to attend Small Sat.
“I have been with SEAKR for almost a year, but I actually learned about SEAKR 2.5 years before I even graduated,” explained Forystek. “I got the opportunity to attend Small Sat my sophomore year at Cal Poly. I went to a resume building workshop and won an iPad from Amy – our HR lead. I kept in contact with her for 2.5 years and when I graduated I emailed her, letting her know I was looking for a job.”
Forystek’s smile brightens as she talks about her current project at SEAKR.
“I am currently working on the International Space Station’s communication system! This project is more of a beginner project, which is great since I am still pretty green. I am excited to get into something challenging though. Eventually I want to design my own board.”