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JFCC Space deputy commander visits Cal Poly

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brian Brown, deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, listens to a presentation of the CubeSat program during a recent visit to California Polytechnic State University, April 1, San Luis Obispo, Calif. During his visit, Brown spoke with members of Cal Poly’s CubeSat program on various topics such as CubeSats, which are satellites made up of mutiples of 10-centimeter cube units, their thoughts on the industry and where it’s headed, and the ongoing partnership between Cal Poly and Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio/Released)

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brian Brown, deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, listens to a presentation of the CubeSat program during a recent visit to California Polytechnic State University, April 1, San Luis Obispo, Calif. During his visit, Brown spoke with members of Cal Poly’s CubeSat program on various topics such as CubeSats, which are satellites made up of mutiples of 10-centimeter cube units, their thoughts on the industry and where it’s headed, and the ongoing partnership between Cal Poly and Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio/Released)

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brian Brown, deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, is shown a CubeSat during a recent visit to California Polytechnic State University, April 1, San Luis Obispo, Calif. During his visit, Brown spoke with members of Cal Poly’s CubeSat program on various topics such as CubeSats, which are satellites made up of mutiples of 10-centimeter cube units, their thoughts on the industry and where it’s headed, and the ongoing partnership between Cal Poly and Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio/Released)

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brian Brown, deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, is shown a CubeSat during a recent visit to California Polytechnic State University, April 1, San Luis Obispo, Calif. During his visit, Brown spoke with members of Cal Poly’s CubeSat program on various topics such as CubeSats, which are satellites made up of mutiples of 10-centimeter cube units, their thoughts on the industry and where it’s headed, and the ongoing partnership between Cal Poly and Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brian Brown, deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, recently visited California Polytechnic State University, April 1.

During his visit, Brown spoke with members of Cal Poly's CubeSat program on various topics such as Cal Poly's activities with CubeSats, which are satellites made up of mutiples of 10-centimeter cube units, their thoughts on the industry and where it's headed, and the ongoing partnership between Cal Poly and Vandenberg.

"As space-based capabilities have become a common component of almost every aspect of our lives, it's imperative that we continually seek out and expand our partnerships with like-minded space fairing entities to maintain the peaceful and safe use of space," said Brown. "Our partnerships with industry and academia are particularly important because it helps us keep pace with cutting edge thinking and technological innovation. We are especially lucky at JFCC Space to have Cal Poly, a center of the CubeSat universe, so close by and look forward to continuing our mutually beneficial relationship."

The CubeSat program was founded 17 years ago and prepares students for future engineering roles by providing them opportunities to design, build, test, launch and track satellites. The platform has been a catalyst for the consistent running relationship between Cal Poly and Vandenberg.

"Our programs provide a lot of opportunities for Cal Poly and Vandenberg personnel," said Dr. Jordi Puig-Suari, Cal Poly aerospace engineer professor and CubeSat team advisor. "We've had courses at Cal Poly where members of Vandenberg come to receive training, whereas our students go work at the base when they graduate. We have some students from Vandenberg that are completing grad school with us, both military and civilian. We also have a number of former students who currently work at the base as civilians. Recently, we've tried to start working closer with the schoolhouse on base. Some of the classes have come and toured our lab. The Air Force curriculum is highly based on the weapons systems they're going to be operating which are very big. We show them what some of the other things they're going to be sharing space with are. It's been going incredibly well."

Cal Poly's role in the space game has become increasingly larger as of late, thanks to the production of CubeSats.

"When we started working on CubeSats, our relationship with Vandenberg accelerated," said Puig-Suari. "We started launching from Vandenberg. We were down there with our team, working with safety and range personnel, as well as members of the Joint Space Operations Center. We became a space player and at that point, our interface with the space people from the Department of Defense became a day-to-day operation."

The CubeSat program has provided a foundation for Vandenberg and Cal Poly to thrive as a team, a notion cemented by Brown's visit.

"I think it's wonderful that we have leadership here," said Puig-Suari. "Our relationship with Vandenberg has been and will continue to be very critical in the success of our operations. I think it's great when we have these tours and these face-to-face gatherings, they're very important and informative. We look forward to many more future endeavors with Vandenberg."