Who We Are
The Texas Spacecraft Laboratory (TSL) at The University of Texas at Austin is a student-driven research group under the direction of Dr. Brandon Jones dedicated to designing and building small satellites, securing launches into space, and operating them once in orbit. The TSL actively collaborates with other university research groups, governmental organizations, and/or private industries, and is involved in several outreach activities. The lab participates in several annual events hosted at UT, such as Explore UT and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. In addition, the lab fulfills a more active outreach role, and has collaborated with Girl Scouts of America and with several local K-12 schools to host tours and teach younger students about engineering and about what it’s like to work on actual spacecraft. Along with outreach efforts, the TSL is engaged with the local aerospace community. The lab hosts technical talks, explores avenues for collaborations, and has a history of working with local companies like Emergent Space, Firefly, CesiumAstro, and HyperSciences.
We aim to perform space-based experiments and develop and demonstrate new technologies while improving the skills of our students and training the next generation of engineers, emphasizing education, safety, independence, and responsibility. By providing hands-on experience and practical instruction, the TSL provides members with the opportunity to contribute to meaningful research in a collaborative environment while developing marketable skills and expanding their college experiences beyond the classroom.
Originally established in 2002 as the Satellite Design Laboratory under Dr. Glenn Lightsey, the TSL has been involved in a number of missions involving small satellites, many of them in conjunction with other universities and governmental organizations such as NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Ames, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Air Force Research Laboratory. You can find more information about the history of the TSL by visiting the Current Missions or Past Missions pages on our website.
Interested in becoming part of the TSL? Pop on over to our “Join Us” page to read more about that.