Logo: University of Southern California

USC President Thanks California Congressional Leaders for Space Research Support

Senator Feinstein and Representative Lewis briefed on USC engineering space research
Eric Mankin
March 29, 2011 —

On a recent Washington visit by a top-level USC delegation led by President C. L. Max Nikias and Provost Elizabeth Garrett, one key agenda item was an expression of thanks to two congressional leaders for their support of Viterbi School space research involving students.

USC president C. L. Max Nikias stands next to U.S. Rep. Jerry Lewis from California's 41st district, along with other members of a delegation from USC.  Photo/Jennifer Grodsky. (click on image for USC News story)
Nikias presented Senator Diane Feinstein and U.S. Representative Jerry Lewis collections of photographs and graphics documenting the work by the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) and the USC Space Engineering Research Center (SERC) to build "nanosatellites," as well as personal letters of thanks for their strong support.

The material Nikias presented to Lewis and Feinstein showed the students in the laboratory at work on the vehicle, along with background information about the projects.

The continuing project is a joint effort between USC, Northrop Grumman's NOVAWORKS division and other companies. ISI/SERC supplied a nanosatellite unit put into orbit December 8 in a SPACE X launch from Cape Canaveral.

USC students and researchers built the unit, named CAERUS after the Greek god of opportunity. The CAERUS team included David Barnhart, who originated space projects at ISI, and Senior Design Engineer Tim Barrett;  industry professionals Jeff Sachs, Michael Aherne and John Smolik; and students, Lucy Hoag, Emin Vartanians, Melissa Jawaharlal, John Razzano, Omair Rahman, Rahul Karkhanis, Eric Teegarden, Sara Gramling, Carson Vogt, Amparo Romero, Maria Guzman, Neha Rathore, Chunyih Chu,and Dayung Koh.

Working with the USC Department of Astronautical Engineering and other departments at the Viterbi School, the team delivered CAERUS just 14 weeks after receiving authorization to proceed on the project.

Professors Joseph Kunc and Daniel Erwin of Astronautical Engineering, contributed to the student effort, which provided critical support for the rapid ground-station development timeline.

The SERC follows an Engineering "Teaching Hospital" model where industry  professionals, graduate students, and undergrads mimic the roles of doctors, residents, and med students respectively about the projects.

According to one USC witness, "the Chairman (Lewis) also liked the [progress report package] and said he would be interested in visiting the campus... They also had a good discussion about the importance of aerospace education."

Jennifer Grodsky, executive director of the USC Office of Federal Relations, said that Senator Feinstein "greatly appreciated the folder Max handed her," containing the letter and documentation.

Launch of a second USC/ISI satellite, called Aeneas, will take place in mid 2012.