USU’s Small Satellite Conference going virtual because of pandemic – Cache Valley Daily


LOGAN – The coronavirus pandemic kept thousands away from the Utah State University campus last Thursday when the school’s 133rd commencement was postponed.

In August, another 3,500 people will not appear at USU because another significant on-campus event — USU’s Small Satellite Conference — will go forward virtually.

Small Sat Administrator Marianne Sidwell said the event is three months away and her approach is very different right now.

”Normally we would be working with caterers at this point, planning meals for 3,500 people and all of the facility issues,” Sidwell explained. “But that’s all gone away now. So, we’re just focusing on mostly the technology of making this work.”

In the 33-year history of this event at USU, venues were spread all over campus. It will have no on-campus presence this year.

“We already have over 230 companies registered to exhibit. The trade show was a huge part of it; it would normally fill up the entire field house. There is a lot of excitement, a lot of networking, a lot of face-to-face. So, you can imagine how different this is going to be.”

“Space Mission Architectures, Infinite Possibilities” with new content uploaded daily, runs Aug. 1-6.

Sidwell said the trick is to help attendees and exhibiters enjoy a semblance of the same experience — in a virtual format — that they did when they were face to face in past years.

The virtual conference will include keynote and invited speakers, oral presentations, exhibitor and sponsor information, university exhibits, poster presentations, Swifty presentations, NASA short talks, side meeting information, the Frank J. Redd Student Competition, a student poster competition, Mission of the Year Award, SpaceNews Show Dailies and more. The SmallSat 2020 Virtual Conference will be held free of charge.

Additional details about this year’s Small Satellite Conference are available here: www.smallsat.org.



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