4 minute read


inspireFly representing at the 5th IAA conference in Italy.

Photo / Alex Gardner


Making Space Local

Article / Souyma Khanna

Virginia Tech’s inspireFly team is designing, developing, and testing novel CubeSat (small squareshaped miniature satellites) technology at state-of-the-art facilities. inspireFly’s motto is “Making Space Local”. Benjamin Strickler and Simran Singh co-founded this team in 2018 shortly after Astranis Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Satellite (SEDS SAT II) launched their competition. Students for the Exploration and Development of Space is the largest studentrun space nonprofit organization in the world empowering young people to make an impact in space exploration.

The inspireFly team comprises 100 undergraduate students and is advised by a team of researchers and faculty at the Center for Space Science and Engineering Research or Space@VT. Their core values are inspiration, diversity, effectiveness, ambition, sincerity. They have two main teams which are technical and non-technical (business) that are broken down into further subteams.

Benjamin Strickler, a fourth-year Aerospace and Ocean Engineering major and the Project Manager of inspireFly along with Simran Singh, a fifth-year Aerospace and Ocean Engineering major and the Chief Engineer of inspireFly were excited to seize an opportunity of a free launch into space. While searching for a project, the team wanted to interest college students and create a personal connection/interaction with space. “We wanted to bring the general public in the picture and connect them with outer space,” Simran recalls.

The team designed a product called ContentCube which will essentially allow people to send a picture to it and it will take a picture of their patent-pending external display screen (“selfie”) before sending it back down. The team won the SEDS SAT-2 Competition last year which allowed them to have a free launch of their product. Thirteen SEDS chapters across the country including Purdue, CU Boulder participated in this competition. Benjamin recalls, “We did not have as much experience and felt

“Something like this was never done before.”

- Benjamin Strickler

inspireFly Team. Photo / Alex Gardner

like the underdogs. Our idea set us apart and the team’s hard work paid off. Something like this was never done before.” The team members recall the competition to be a great learning experience from brainstorming to implementation. They were flattered to be given the opportunity and believed to have achieved a lot in the past year.

The team has been raising awareness about their product and their mission. Some of the leads of the team were able to go to the 5th International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Conference in Italy to share more about their product and goal/objective. The team also participated in the Innovation Challenge at Paris Space Week in France.

Photo / inspireFly Logo

Currently, the team is on a mission to raise funds for the development of their CubeSat. Their goal is to raise 100,000 $ in the near future. Matthew Krivansky, a third-year Computer Science major with a minor in Economics, is the Business Director of inspireFly. Matthew recently joined the team but has closely worked with the team while he was the President of SEDS at Virginia Tech. He is looking forward to fundraising and believes to create a clearer path with the help of Consulting Group at Virginia Tech where he’s currently working too.

What is inspireFly raising funds for?

The inspireFly team is raising funds for the development of their product, ContentCube. This will allow the team to purchase materials, software, test devices and components for their satellite.

Why are they raising funds?

Usually, space projects aren’t very appealing or interesting to the general public, specifically college students. Our generation of space lovers watched Star Wars and Star Trek. The futuristic approach of the movies excited us about space exploration. However, space is still not accessible to the general public and seems like a reach. inspireFly is raising awareness and building products like ContentCube to interest people about space exploration and connect space lovers with outer space.

Where can I donate?

You can check out inspireFly’s gofundme page: www.ef.org.vt.edu/inspire-fly1 and learn more about the donation benefits!

inspireFly team leads at SpaceVision 2019. Photo / Alex Gardner

A message from Linda Nguyen, Social media, marketing, and design lead of inspireFly :

inspireFly is kicking off their ContentCube Social Media Campaign and is reaching out to connect space to the local community starting with Virginia Tech students whether you are a selfie-lover, space enthusiast, or both. As students themselves who have faced lab access and campus restrictions, members have moved to working virtually and remotely to continue their mission to bring space access to you. They are inviting you to join them in “Making Space Local”! By donating at least $5 to their gofundme page and filling out a simple survey form which includes uploading a photo, you will help them raise funds for their project which will increase the likelihood of your photo to be used for a free space selfie! This will give you the opportunity to do something fun and to look forward to while staying strong and working hard at home. Please fill out this form: www.ef.org.vt.edu/inspire-fly2

Are you a social media influencer? If yes, then inspireFly would love to broadcast any of your pictures/videos into space! This is an exciting opportunity for any social media influencers out there. Contact inspireFly to learn more about this opportunity. Our gofundme page: https://www.gofundme. com/f/vmfzyg-inspirefly-contentcube

Our contact email: inspireflyofficial@gmail.com

Facebook: InspireFly

Instagram: inspirefly_official

Twitter: @inspireFlySpace

Linkedin: inspireFly www.linkedin.com/company/inspirefly

Website: www.inspirefly.co

Youtube: inspireFly ContentCube