Jarvis Con – Space Edition with Giada Staniscia

Jarvis Con’ episode 3 took on a slightly different turn explaining in more depth the development of a CubeSat, not only in terms of the technicalities of engineering but also the organisational aspect of teams involved. Our speaker, Giada Staniscia, is the past team leader of MIST (Miniature student satellite team) and is now working at OHB Sweden.

MIST is part of the Space centre at KTH; their aim is to coordinate and promote space-related activities and develop a reputation as a Space Engineering University and hub within Europe. Their involvement in numerous space endeavours including research and development of various sensors, a sounding rocket, venus Lander and of course the MIST CubeSat has seen them partner up with ESA and a wide variety of experts in the field.

As part of this talk, Giada showcased the capabilities and achievements of student teams and provided some valuable insights into the technical and organisational aspects of the MIST project. Her role as project leader involved minimising the “paperwork” of Cubesat development. Highlighting that development can quickly become “not fun” if not organised properly.

Here is a short recap of the project organisation tips needed to maximise the “fun” part of development and get the most from your team. Whilst the tips are related more specifically to student teams much of the advice can be applied to projects in general.

  • Continuity is extremely important to transfer knowledge across time: make sure to be realistic during the recruitment and have clear expectations for students, supervisors etc. Make sure departing team members are involved if needed.
  • Reward participants: give value to members work by providing credits or payment for their job this way they can honour their responsibilities.
  • Divide your project into sub-teams with clear goals, objectives and responsibilities. MiST uses a subteam configuration led by core supervisors, very similar to Momentus’ squadrons discussed in Jarvis Con’ episode 2.
  • Create protocols for information and document handling: including naming (version, dates), storing and so on; to make sure everyone is on the same page. This is increasingly important with an ever-changing team (such as in student projects) to maintain the crucial aspect of continuity.
  • Setup troubleshooting: do not only report a problem but suggest possible solutions to maintain credibility with suppliers and stakeholders.
  • Keep meetings short: set a time limit and take meeting minutes.

To finish off Giada Staniscia offered the most valuable lessons from Sven Grahn the project Manager of the KTH Space Center. We thought them too good to not include in full!

By developing the technical and organisational aspects of MIST, Giada had some valuable advice to maximise the fun part of development; whether satellite, student-led or otherwise.

The limits of space exploration are yet to be discovered, student teams are forever pushing the boundaries of possibilities and achieving more precise orbits, reaching higher altitudes and involving bigger teams, some even competing in international competitions. Giada’s tips will ensure development remains fun and her wish to inspire students to join a student team was certainly fulfilled.

If you want to catch up on what you missed, watch the full recording here:

Jarvis Con – Space Edition with Giada Staniscia

About Giada Staniscia:

Giada earned a BSc in aerospace engineering at Politecnico di Torino.
In 2019, she completed an MSc in Aerospace Engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
For her Master Thesis, Giada worked at GomSpace Sweden to build a systems engineering tool. She’s currently working in the spacecraft department at OHB Sweden, where she’s involved both in system engineering and AIV.

Connect with Giada.

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