Electrical Engineering 24, Section 1

BLISS: Berkeley Low-cost Interplanetary Solar Sail (1 unit, P/NP)

Professor Karl Pister and Lecturer Andrew Westphal
Wednesday 4:00-5:00, 293 Cory Hall, Class number: 28922

In this seminar we will explore the design and applications of very small autonomous spacecraft, focusing primarily on those using solar sails for propulsion. We will start with an existing preliminary design for a spacecraft weighing only twenty grams, and explore from there. Topics for the course include: mission design for asteroid imaging; comet sample return; plume sampling; guidance, navigation, and control using cell-phone hardware; interplanetary trajectory simulation and generation
thermal control; power system design; building a working model of the spacecraft; and designing experiments to be prove the concepts using cubesats.

Instructor Bio

Kris Pister is a pioneer in autonomous micro robots. His research explores the edge of what is physically possible, attempting to make the implausible commonplace. Previous examples include Smart Dust, which helped to launch the internet of things, and crazy ideas in radio design which are now inside every pair of Apple AirPods.

Andrew Westphal is a Research Physicist at the Space Science Laboratory at U. C. Berkeley. His research group focuses on laboratory analyses of returned extraterrestrial materials, particularly cometary and interstellar dust returned by the NASA Stardust mission.

Faculty web site:


Who should take this class? Dreamers who like to get things done. Engineers, physicists, artists, history buffs, space geeks. <br><br>Prerequisites: Some high school physics preferred.