Find a Project
- 1 SSI Overload
- 2 Balloons
- 3 Rockets
- 4 Satellites
- 5 Biology
- 6 Policy
- 7 Operations
So you've joined  Slack, maybe gone to a meeting or two, but you're not sure what you can do or what there even is to do with so many teams swirling around? Well you've come to right place! Below are all the projects each team is working on, what skills they utilize or where they're especially looking for help, and who you can contact to jump in! Think of this like a jobs listing page except that the jobs are always available and you apply by poking the person of contact and saying you want the job -- and it's probably yours.
As you can see from the length of this list, there will always be more SSI to do than you will have hours in a day, week, month, or year -- don't feel pressured to overextend yourself! If you have questions, are feeling overwhelmed, or just want to chat with someone, don't hesitate to reach out to a leadership member. SSI exists for, and because of, its members (that's you.) Your sanity, health, and overall well-being always come first.
- 3D visualizations using Cesium or Unity
- Natural Language Processing for the commands module
- Create a mobile app using React Native
- Improved RF integrations
- Overhaul security on websocket connections
- Navigation algorithms
ValBal (Valve and Ballast), is a world record-breaking high-altitude balloon payload that autonomously maintains a set altitude for days of flight by venting helium gas and dropping ballast. If you are interested in MechE, EE, CS, Physics, or even MatSci or ChemE, there's a place for you on the ValBal team!
- MechE -- Lead: Paige Brown
ValBal's current design is a 3 part 3D printed nylon structure that uses motors to vent helium gas directly from the balloon neck, cut down the payload in the event of an emergency, and turn a wheel to dispense bb pellets as ballast from a lower compartment. The structure supports, at its heart, the avionics, which powers and control the motors and sensors. Contact
@paigebrown if you're interested in:
- Computer Aided Design (CAD) in SolidWorks
- 3D printing
- Messing with dry ice
- Laser cutting
- Random jank manufacturing tricks
- and everything else that goes into making ValBal mechanics run smoothly
- EE -- Lead: Aria Tedjarati
ValBal’s current electrical system consists of two compact, low-cost, 4 layer printed circuit boards with a custom avionics platform and a prototype digital radio communication link. The avionics consist of a multitude of sensors, a GPS, a two-way satellite communications system, motor drivers, power regulation, an embedded micro-controller, and much, much more! The digital radio system consists of a 433 MHz GFSK modulated, Reed-Solomon error corrected link that has been proven to reach ranges of 200 km at data-rates significantly greater than that of the Iridium constellation at 1/5th of the power consumption and 1/20th the cost. There are a multitude of ways to join the electrical engineering aspect of ValBal, so if any of this stuff interests you, join! Contact
@ariatedjarati for more information.
- CS -- Lead: Davy Ragland
With ValBal CS, you will learn how to design and build robust, reliable, and flight critical embedded systems code. Since we cannot simply patch the firmware when it is flying, and if something goes wrong we could literally crash, we have to model our system in a way that accounts for complex states, edge cases, and emergent properties. From smart subsystem rebooting to bidirectional comms with parameter tuning, and from a multitude of flight modes to heavily optimized processor and memory behavior, ValBal is the perfect place to hone your skills building something that not only works, but works to industry standards.
@dragland to get involved!
- Physics -- As a physics major, there are plenty of opportunities for you to work on ValBal. It is an insanely complex system; the flight dynamics are not yet completely understood and require simulating atmospheric and thermal effects. Good models are critical to create a good controller, another key component to ValBal that limits our possible endurance. At the same time, you can help with the design of the payload itself, considering how to optimize it for the harsh environment and coming up with good designs. Contact
@jcreusfor more inforation and a good dose of jank.
- MatSci/ChemE -- Lead: Paige Brown
ValBal has a fatal problem: latex balloons are quickly weakened by UV radiation and ozone at high altitudes, leading to mission ending failure in just a few days. If this sounds like an interesting problem to you, and you want to be an integral part of helping us circumnavigate the world someday, come help us figure out how to strengthen or alter the latex balloon with s c i e n c e. Contact
@paigebrown if you're interested!
HABEES (High Altitude Balloon Electrical Engineering Systems) is the umbrella project for all EE & CS projects outside of ValBal (that is, largely oriented at standard profile balloon launches). Because of this, there is a nearly limitless number of possibilities and projects to pursue within HABEES -- with that said, if you're new to EE or CS, or a veteran, and just generally want some ideas of what you can make, here's a bunch! Contact
@kirillsafin to discuss working on any of these!
- HONEY EE -- the primary electronics in HABEES revolve around the HONEY architecture. If you're interested in EE, you can test circuits and/or make PCB's for this architecture and have it fly with other boards. Head over to the HONEY page to understand more about it. Below are some project ideas for circuits/boards you can make for HONEY!
- Motor/Servo Driver
- External/Internal Payload Heaters
- Atmospheric Gas Sensors
- Wind Sensors
- SSTV Radio Board
- WinLink Radio Email Board
- APRS Radio Board
- 12V Battery Management System
- General Purpose Radio Transceiver
- Camera Board
- CubeSat Mapping Board
- Literally anything else
- HONEY CS -- although there's a lot of electronics in HABEES, they all need some software; and, even better, that software always has room for improvement, so here's some possible projects!
- Software for tracking something (with motors/servos)
- Improving filtering/error checking for sensors
- Compression algorithms for logged & transmitted data
- Enhancing speed, quality, and throughput of CAN Bus
- Enhancing TestBench (QueenBee) test software
- Introducing/Developing radio encoding & decoding schemes
- Developing forward & reverse error correction for radio links
- Developing Point-To-Point radar link software
BUZZ is the umbrella subteam for balloons radio projects. It operated as part of HABEES, and works to develop/try/test new radio technologies within balloons. ValBal also develops independent and system-specific radio systems. Some ideas for possible projects, as well as ongoing projects, are below: Talk to
@ariatedjarati about them!
- Improved ATV link quality
- Teensy-native SSTV Transmission & Reception
- APRS development
- Native GFSK/FSK/OOK transceivers & software
- WiFi downlink/uplink (2.4GHz / 5 GHz)
- Stanford Ground Station (high gain, directional)
- Portable Field Ground Station
- Balloons National Ground Station Networ
- WinLink Global Radio E-Mail
- Digital Video/Image encoding
Daedalus is our suite of technology development projects. The work done here pushes forwards on our long-term plan for a space shot. Each project will involve some mechanical, electrical, programming and simulations work, so feel free to join any one of them - but each focuses on a different aspect of rocketry.
Icarus - Reefed Parachute, Lead: Saylor
- Icarus is building a rocket with a reefed parachute - one which changes size during flight to adjust the rocket descent. This project will intimately involve:
- Mechanics and mechanical engineering - designing, simulating and building a deployment mechanism.
- Mechanics and aerodynamics - designing the parachute and its aerodynamic properties.
- Electrical engineering - PCB design, electrical integration and programming. Focus on high reliability and low size & power.
Charybdis - Spin Stabilization Contact: William
- Charybdis is building a rocket that spins like a rifle bullet, then stops spinning mid-air to deploy parachutes.
- Mechanical engineering - designing reliable deployment mechanism.
- Aerodynamics and simulation - designing fin system to create desired spin.
Argus - Distributed RF Camera System Lead: John
- Argus is building a rocket equipped with a new camera system, allowing us to easily take video (and possibly stream live!) from the interior and exterior of rockets as they fly.
- Electrical Engineering - circuit board design, electrical integration.
- Signals - RF & transmission tech.
Competition (IREC/SA Cup)
- Structures, Lead: Will
- Design and test all airframe hardware
- Design and build tools for integration of the rocket
- Ensure all subsystems are designed and build to correct dimensions
- Payload, Lead: WANTED
- Design and execute an interesting research project of your choice
- Design a payload of 8.8lbs to be carried to 30,000ft
- Recovery, Lead: Saylor
- Design and sew a parachute and test it to confirm its Coefficient of Drag
- Design and test a deployment mechanism for our rocket
- Ensure our rocket comes down in one piece
- Avionics, Leads: Sharon, Julea
- Design, implement, and test all the hardware and software that goes into our flight computers
- Design and manufacture structures for avionics bay and work with other subteams to implement interfaces and integration processes
- Design and test radio communications system for our rocket to talk to the ground
- Write software to parse and visualize data, build a protective cooling case for laptops & other electronics so they don't die in the blazing desert heat and dust (yes there's a story here)
- Launch Operations, Lead: Tylor Jilk
- Work with each subteam to coordinate and prepare launch materials
- Plan & execute travel and launch logistics
- Oversee launch procedures, checklists, and go/no calls
- Many more additional projects for ground support designable around personal interests
- Simulations, Lead: Ruqayya
- Develop computer simulations to predict the flight path of our rocket
- Inform the decision making of the team with analysis of motors, weights and design
The Stanford Timing And Ranging –Cross-linking Optical Small Satellite Demonstration mission is an ambitious proposal seeking to place two cubesats in low Earth orbit and establish a laser-based data link between them across hundreds of kilometers. Such a mission has never before been attempted. If successful, the technology developed will enable a dramatic leap forward in the capabilities of both cubesats and larger satellitesto communicate high volumes of data across long distances.
Optical links using lasers are capable of dramatically higher data transmission speeds than existing radio systems, but have never been successfully demonstrated at the cubesat scale. A cubesat-sized optical communications system willenable high-speed links between cubesats, allowing for networks built from affordable satellites.Miniaturizing an optical communications system to fit in a cubesat would also make it far easier for larger satellites to add optical networking capabilities, an almost essential component of proposed internet satellite constellations.
Satellites with optical links can not only transmit data faster, but also better synchronize their timekeeping with each other and measure their separation distance, important features of boththe GPS system and groups of scientific satellites. With an optical network, satellites could conduct previously impossible scientific missions and significantly improve the accuracy of GPS
Now is the perfect time to get involved with STAR-CROSSD. A number of subsystems need to be analyzed, designed, built, and tested, with opportunities to learn about electrical, mechanical, and software engineering, satellite operations, and more.
Polar Orbiting INfrared Tracking Receiver (POINTR) has been Satellites’ primary focus since February. POINTR is an in flight demonstration of an optical receiver pointing, acquisition and tracking (PAT) system. The optical receiver payload hosted on Audacy’s 3U cubesat would be pointed to the ground to acquire and track a beacon laser sent from a suitable ground facility, currently proposed as NASA JPL’s OCTL facility. This mission would demonstrate the operational and technical requirements related to two satellites establishing an optical communications link with each other. The requirements include mission planning, command and execution of a pointing maneuver, acquisition of an incoming optical signal and tracking of the optical signal. This mission can be broken into four main goals:
- Demonstrate a subset of technology for full bidirectional optical communications mission within the constraints placed by Audacy’s primary mission.
- Increase chance of bidirectional optical communications mission success.
- Develop experience within SSI designing and building space hardware.
- Contribute to the cubesat and satellite optical communications technical fields.
- The GistThe Avionics group works on all of the core electrical systems for the Satellites team, including electrical power distribution, sensors, and computing. Learn how to design and reflow Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) and work with signal-processing to understand light signals in the inky darkness of space!
- The People To Talk to Sasha, Shi, Meera
- The Gist The GNC group ("Guidance, Navigation, and Control") is responsible for determining and controlling the position and rotation of satellites in space even while hundreds or sometimes thousands of miles away. Join GNC to work with us on cutting-edge technologies and a system to control our satellites in orbit from the comfort of the SSI space bunker.
- The People To Talk to Sasha
- The Gist Optics is all about putting light to work - starting from simple laser pointers to finally sending a communications signal across 10 kilometers in space! We use lasers, lenses, filters, sensors and even moving mirrors to send light flying through space and catch it on the other side.
- The People To Talk to Michael Taylor
- The Gist The software team tackles the many different challenges of software needed for satellites: from flight software to web development, we do it all. For flight software, we take advantage of parallel communications modules to manage real-time requirements on pointing control. For web development, we are partnering with the ground operations team to build thorough mission control software and web interface. If any of this seems daunting or complicated, don’t worry. We all started from scratch. Join software and get your code in space!
- The People To Talk to Orien, Joan
- Ground Ops
- The Gist The Ground Operations team will build mission control software and web interface to analyze satellite behavior in-flight and react accordingly. Aside from software, physics and orbital mechanics are crucial parts of this team’s ability. This team is responsible for testing spacecraft stability, fault tolerance, and final mission success.
- The People To Talk to Orien
- The Gist The Structures team designs and builds all necessary flight mechanics, ranging from the overall structure to individual component mounts. We go through the full development process - whiteboard drawings, SolidWorks, and finally manufacturing.The Structures team is also responsible for many of the environmental considerations, such as the thermal and vacuum requirements of space, as well as the shock and vibration profile of launch.
- The People To Talk to Anjali, Sandip
Enzymatic DNA Synthesis Methods
- Test commercial blocking groups for compatibility with Terminal Deoxynucleotidyl Transferase
- Chemically synthesize nucleotides with different reversible blocking groups
- Characterize and optimize enzymatic DNA synthesis reaction efficiency
- Build and run stochastic computer models of DNA synthesis to optimize reaction parameters
- Research purification methods for synthesized DNA
- Design and test your own synthesis method!
- Execute and optimize any one of our existing verification procedures--Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis, Pyrosequencing, or Ligation and Sequencing
- Adapt LCMS or MALDI-TOF procedures for detecting single-base addition or determining the sequence of a sample.
- Come up with new ways to verify single-base addition to a starting strand of DNA
Microfluidic Device Design
- Design and program an Electrowetting on Dielectric microfluidic PCB
- Simulate and test how a microfluidic system would work in microgravity
- Port our DNA synthesis method to a solid substrate like controlled pore glass or streptavidin-biotin magnetic beads
- Optimize an integrated microfluidic protocol for DNA synthesis and verification on the electrowetting PCB and on the Beckman Biomek 2000 liquid handling robot in lab
- Research and test other automated fluid handling methods, like acoustic droplet ejection or optoelectrowetting.
- Build a system for cooling and temperature control of the device, perhaps using Peltiers
- Write an algorithm to minimize the number of groups of compatible templates needed for the exonuclease method
- Figure out how to power our PCB from a cubesat or other launch vehicle
- Build testing rigs for DNA synthesis methods that are needed for experiments in lab
- Be a lead/co-lead for our DC trip in partnership with Citizens for Space
- Be a Discussion Lead(s) for a week and do a deep dive on a topic/news article of your choice
Your Project Here
- Come up with a theme for Special Dinner and make decorations (like a model Falcon 9!)
@draglandrun SSI general dinners
- Plan and run general community events like Trivia Night, Pathfinder, and Movie Night
- Find diverse speakers to bring to campus
- Organize diversity mixers (including with other engineering groups)
- Find an interesting company and arrange a tour or talk
- Help handle logistics of an existing talk, like by meeting an astronaut and walking him to Durand 450
- Give a CEO or Venture Capitalist a tour of ESIII
- Complete reimbursements
- Apply for grants & seek out new sponsors
- Design awesome swag (t-shirts, jackets, posters)
- Reach out to reporters
- Social media guru! (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts)
- Creating Snapchat filters for events
- Designing flyers for upcoming talks
- Going on launches to take pictures and videos
- Start discussions with local highschools and their science clubs
- Organize or join an existing trip to a local school
- Pursue a sponsorship (we'll walk you through how!)
- Compile a list of bay-area aerospace companies
- Overhaul the budgeting system
- Give the sponsors page dynamic content
- Manage this very wiki
- Manage our public and internal websites
- Make space-themed artwork to decorate ESIII
- Plant more herbs
- Paint a mural
- Track inventory of supplies and parts