​​The CubeSat Research Program, a broad, long-term, multi-agency effort, aims to increase the number of scientific discoveries by reducing barriers to space exploration and providing hands-on learning on an international scale.

By standardizing satellite configuration and delivery, the CubeSat program also provides easier access to outer space. This has enabled non-traditional space companies, such as PlanetLabs and Google's Skybox, to create viable business models.

As a co-inventor of the CubeSat standard, Professor Jordi Puig-Suari, along with Assistant Professor John Bellardo, enables multidisciplinary student teams to work with NASA and the Department of Defense to design, build, and fly satellites.

For example, on the IPEX mission, students collaborated with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to validate image processing algorithms and autonomy to be used on Earth-observing satellites. Many alumni have gone on to start their own companies and become experts in the small satellite arena.

"Being a part of CubeSat for the last three years has given me more hands-on experience with satellite hardware and multidisciplinary cooperation than I expected in my undergraduate career," says student researcher Nikolaus Powell. "This has allowed me to discover my own topics of interest and anticipate my best path forward after graduation."