Systems Engineering Seminar

The Dellingr Challenge: from conception to operations

Presented by:
Chuck Clagett, Code 596 & Luis Santos, Code 599

Thursday, September 27, 2018 - 1:00 pm
Building 3 Auditorium (GSFC)


The Dellingr Mission is the first GSFC 6U CubeSat that carried 2 in-house science payloads: miniaturized Ion-Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) and Distributed Acquisition for Geomagnetic Research (DAGR) magnetometers. The goals for Dellingr changed over time in several occasions, ranging from a pathfinder/learning exercise to a science mission with key decadal-survey science-enabling technology demonstrations.

The project presented a wide variety of systems engineering challenges because of its uniqueness, starting from out-of-the-box project formulation to bare-bones mission operations. The Dellingr story is presented from formulation to operations, highlighting unique approaches to this significantly constrained mission and lessons learned from such approaches.


Luis Santos is the Mission Systems Engineer (MSE) for the GTOSat Mission and was the Mission Systems Engineer for the HaloSat and Dellingr Missions. He also participated in numerous proposals and briefly worked as the MSE for the petitSat and BurstCube Missions. His primary background is mechanical engineering in design, analysis, build and test of structures and mechanisms for space flight. Luis joined NASA GSFC in 2005 with a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez and in 2014 obtained a Master's Degree in Systems Engineering from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.

Mr. Clagett is presently the Branch Head of the GN&C hardware group. He received his BS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland in 1983. In his early career, he worked on the Spartan and SMEX programs developing ACS systems and components. His most notable accomplishments during this time period was the development of custom reaction wheels for the SWAS mission. Mr. Clagett received a patent for his reaction wheel design, successfully licensed and commercialized this reaction wheel to industry, and was selected for NASA Invention of the Year in 1998. Mid-career, Mr. Clagett developed another reaction wheel for the Triana mission (now known as DSCOVR) and in 2001 he received the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal. In 2013, Mr. Clagett led a Goddard initiative to produce a Class D mission implementation document to provide overall guidance in developing better, lower cost missions, including those in the SmallSats category. Mr. Clagett recently went on special assignment to become project manager for developing Goddard's first 6U Cubesat called Dellingr. This mission was successfully deployed into orbit on Novemebr 20, 2017 from the International Space Station.


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