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What Is WALI?

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The Western Aerospace Launch Initiative (WALI) is a student organization at Western Michigan University (WMU).  Established in 2014 by a small group of undergraduate students interested in learning about spacecraft engineering, WALI has experienced immense growth in its lifetime.  In 2016, WALI was accepted into the University Nanosatellite Program’s (UNP) 9th iteration and participated in the program’s “Phase A” for the following two years, developing the Plasma Spectroscopy (P-Spec) mission.  This experience provided the organization with the tools necessary to establish itself at WMU and learn the fundamentals of CubeSat engineering.

In the fall of 2018, WALI was accepted into the UNP’s 10th iteration with a redefined mission named Optical Plasma Spectroscopy CubeSat (OPS-Cube).  WALI initiated a key partnership with Busek Co. and expanded its scope to explore both electric propulsion (EP) system diagnostics and CubeSat orbital maneuvers.  Through this iteration of the UNP, the organization further matured and developed into a more experienced and trailblazing team at WMU.

Again, in fall of 2021, UNP’s 11th iteration accepted WALI’s current mission called Performance of Electrospray Propulsion for Gathering Single Polarity Data (PEP-GS). Electric propulsion diagnostics continue to be a main component of WALI’s mission.

The organization is led by Principal Investigator Dr. Kristina Lemmer and assisted by Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Pablo Gomez. WALI has maintained itself on a voluntary participation basis and is currently experiencing unprecedented growth and retention rates. 


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