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students in lab

The first prototype of Pono, a computing and dynamic tasking hosted payload developed by Privateer, completed environmental testing at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa over the summer. Undergraduate students, faculty, and staff at the Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL) partnered with Privateer, a local company with headquarters in Maui, to assist with testing their payload.

students in lab

HSFL was established in 2007 as a partnership between the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and the College of Engineering, and is also embedded as a laboratory of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology. This opportunity helped train students in workforce development, and supported the local economy by utilizing UH infrastructure that had already been developed.

“We look forward to continuing to work together and support them with design and testing for the next Pono payload and future projects,” said Yosef Ben Gershom, an HSFL Engineer.

In collaboration with Privateer’s engineers, HSFL’s equipment and technical expertise—including clean room, shaker table, and thermal vacuum chamber—enabled successful vibration and thermal vacuum testing of the payload’s ability to operate in space-like conditions.

students in lab

“As a multidisciplinary research and education center, our mission is to help develop and support the aerospace industry in Hawaiʻi through workforce development and establishing infrastructure,” Ben Gershom said. “Collaborations with local companies and groups such as Privateer are crucial to diversifying and growing our island economy.”

Researchers hope the collaboration is a precursor to a continuing partnership, which could include future testing, technical reviews and interchange and mutually growing the talent and employment opportunities offered by aerospace and tech industries in Hawaiʻi.

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