When Sputnik launched and shocked the world in 1957, many claimed to be able to see the basketball-sized satellite in orbit. Over the decades, satellites grew ever larger and can now be visible in the night sky, but engineers such as Dr. Michael Lembeck are making strides with satellites scaled back to Sputnik's size. He will present his work along with a history of satellite designs for the James Kaler Science Lecture Series at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.
Dr. Lembeck, director of the Laboratory for Advanced Space Systems at Illinois (LASSI), will give a talk titled, "What goes 'round, comes 'round…the story of how small satellites are making big news" on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge.
Dr. Lembeck's work with LASSI includes designing and assembling spacecraft the size of a breadbox called CubeSats. Since most weigh less than 10 pounds, several can included as a secondary mission in rocket launches. Their size allows them to be built by universities, military, commercial, and amateur organizations. Over 1000 CubeSats have been launched in the last 20 years, including two to Mars.
Dr. Lembeck has led or worked on multiple government and commercial spaceflight programs, including JPL’s Galileo Jupiter Orbiter, Space Industries, Inc.’s Wake Shield Facility, Orbital Sciences’ OrbView/Warfighter commercial remote sensing program, and the Northrop/Boeing CEV and Boeing commercial crew programs. As the Requirements Division Director for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Dr. Lembeck participated in the formulation of President George W. Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration and managed the original development of requirements for the Constellation/Orion program. Dr. Lembeck is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and a Professor of Practice in the University of Illinois’ Aerospace Engineering Department.
After the presentation by Dr. Lembeck, the Staerkel Planetarium will show the full-dome feature, "Dark Matter Mystery" at 8 p.m. The 2019 premiere of "Santa's Secret Star" begins on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets for regular programs range from $5 to $6 per person. For a full show schedule, visit the planetarium website or call 217/351-2446.