Started in 2012, the OpenOrbiter Small Satellite Development Initiative has involved hundreds of students across numerous colleges at the University of North Dakota. The program provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate the real world applicability of their skills and gain experience working with those from other disciplines. The program has developed a new convention for CubeSat electronics orientation and other technological advancements. Work on the project has been presented at the world's top spacecraft-related conferences including the highly-selective AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, AIAA Space, AIAA SciTech, the AIAA/CalPoly CubeSat Workshop, the European CubeSat Symposium, the International Astronautical Congress and IEEE Aerospace.

Portrait of Ronald Marsh

Ronald Marsh

  • Assoc. Professor & Chair
    Department of Computer Science
    University of North Dakota
  • Principal Investigator
    NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Program

Ronald Marsh (B.S. Physics, M.S. & Ph.D. Computer Science) is an Associate Professor & Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Dakota. Dr. Marsh brings to the team over 23 years of research and applications experience with the design of weapons systems, including image processing, target recognition, and optical design. Dr. Marsh was an optical engineer with the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, CA for 8 years where he contributed to the design of several naval weapons systems.

Portrait of Jeremy Straub

Jeremy Straub

  • Assistant Professor
    Department of Computer Science
    North Dakota State University

    Open Orbiter Small Spacecraft Development Initiative

Jeremy Straub conducts research into the autonomous control of robots for air and space applications at the North Dakota State University where he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science. His work spans the gauntlet between technical development and answering policy questions of technology development and use.

Jeremy has published over twenty journal articles and over 75 full conference papers. He has also authored more than 55 national or international conference presentations and more than 80 at local or regional ones. Jeremy was a founding member of the AIAA Small Satellite Technical Committee and serves as the chair of its conferences sub-committee. He's also a full member of Sigma Si and several national honors societies.

Portrait of David Whalen

David Whalen

  • Assoc. Professor (retired)
    Department of Space Studies
    University of North Dakota
  • Co-Principal Investigator
    NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Program

David J. Whalen is an associate professor in the Department of Space Studies at the University of North Dakota.

Prior to this, he was the vice president satellite systems consulting at IOT Systems LLC. He has been an engineer and engineering manager in the communications satellite industry for over 30 years. He has also worked on weather satellites (INSAT, GOES-NEXT), earth observing satellites (LANDSAT), and science satellites (GRO, Hubble).

He is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has been a member of the AIAA History Technical Committee and is currently a member of the AIAA Communications Systems Technical Committee.

Over the last twenty years he has written about space history and space policy in addition to his engineering work. He holds a BA in Astronomy from Boston University, an MS in Astronomy from the University of Massachusetts, an MBA from the College of William and Mary, and a PhD in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from George Washington University. He has taught university and industrial courses in orbit determination and maneuver planning, satellite communications, space policy, and the history of technology. His book Origins of Satellite Communications 1945-1965 was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in 2002. He has recently finished a book about COMSAT Corporation, entitled Rise and Fall of COMSAT: Technology, Business, and Government in Satellite Communications, published by Palgrave Macmillan. He has made many presentations at AIAA, PTC, CASBAA, AHA, SHFG, and NASA conferences. He has published articles and book reviews on space history, space policy, and space technology in a variety of publications including IEEE Technology and Society and Technology and Culture.