NASA Selects Olin's SWARM-EX Satellite Mission; Will Provide Launch Services

March 30, 2022

The SWARM-EX satellite mission that Olin College students and faculty lead Dr. Whitney Lohmeyer, Assistant Professor of Engineering, have been working on for two years alongside five other institutions, has been selected by NASA’s 2022 CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI).

After a proposal submitted by Olin and the Olin Satellite + Spectrum Technology & Policy (OSSTP) Lab to NASA, the agency will provide the Olin team with the launch services required to launch their small satellites to Low Earth Orbit.

Four students work together in a classroom, pointing to a multicolored Cube prototype.

Students from the Olin Satellite + Spectrum Technology & Policy (OSSTP) Group work during the summer of 2021 on a prototype of one of the CubeSats. Photo by Leise Jones.

Twenty-one missions from across the country submitted applications, out of which only eight were selected, with SWARM-EX prioritized during the review process as number five out of the eight selected missions.

Space Weather Atmospheric Reconfigurable Multiscale Experiment CubeSat (SWARM-EX) is a collaboration between six colleges and universities (University of Colorado Boulder, Stanford, University of South Alabama, Western Michigan University, Olin, and Georgia Tech).

Together, the colleges and universities are constructing three 3U CubeSats that will be launched in 2023 and will be used to demonstrate formation flying, advance smallsat communications technologies, and measure different features of the ionosphere.

In the acceptance letter, the NASA CSRC Committee called out the partnership between the SWARM-EX institutions, writing that they "commended that the collaboration with the other universities in order to gain experience is valuable to the students and is appreciated."

While work remains to be done before the launch, the good news from NASA is cause for excitement and represents great recognition at this stage of a job well done.

“NASA’s selection highlights the amazing work of the SWARM-EX team over the last two years! We are excited to work with NASA to launch and deploy our satellites” said OSSTP Lab Manager, Argyris Kriezis '22.

A group of students outside working on a sattelite

The Space Weather Atmospheric Reconfigurable Multiscale Experiment CubeSat (SWARM-EX) team work on setting up a satellite ground station near Milas Hall in July, 2021. Photo by Leise Jones.

Current members of the Olin team are: Argyris Kriezis '22, Celvi Lisy '23, Rohil Agarwal '23, Grant Miner '24, Ethan Chen '25, Gia-Uyen Tran '25, Braden Oh '23.

The selected proposal was led by Kriezis '22 with the support of Dr. Whitney Lohmeyer.

OSSTP was founded in 2020 with the aim of providing real-world, project-based learning with apprenticeship-styled educational experiences in the field of satellite and wireless communications that are deeply rooted in external collaboration. To learn more, visit their website.

Watch: SWARM-EX CubeSat assembly in the video below.