Quub, Inc. is a small startup company located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We strive to build a better world using better data, to keep space science in classrooms, to challenge expectations surrounding satellite building and operation, and to have a little fun with it. While we take our work seriously, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Our team is made up of dreamers, makers, and doers who aren’t afraid to ask why. We use and contribute to open source projects whenever possible and emphasize creative hands-on methods for research and development. This approach allows us to remain nimble and progressive in our field.
Find out how our team can help you begin your journey to better data.
Sherman, set the Wayback machine to 2013, when lifelong tinkerer, inventor, and jack-of-all-trades Joe Latrell first saw Bob Twiggs’ PocketQube standard for building micro satellites and said “I could do that!”
And so he did that, beginning with 3D modeling and printing of his own PocketQube satellite frames, and becoming the first designer to post his development models online. Initially, he struggled to find an adequately small but powerful onboard computer, but made a breakthrough with the NanPi in time for an opportunity to fly one of his satellites with Alba Orbital on their Rocket Lab Electron vehicle. In preparation for this flight, Joe designed and built the world’s smallest functional Earth observation satellite, a 1p pocketqube he named Discovery. There was just one problem: the FCC refused to license Discovery due to her minute size, and so she never flew.
Undeterred, Joe turned his attention to slightly larger designs. In 2018 he incorporated as Mini-Cubes, LLC and designed two more satellite builds, a 3p pocketqube and two 3U CubeSats intended to perform experiments for the Teachers in Space (TIS) organization. The expanding workload and the growth of his engineering team prompted Joe to move Mini-Cubes out of the 160 square foot space where it was started and into a 600 square foot facility in August of 2021. This provided just enough room for Joe to bring on CRO and chief engineer Nathaniel Evry, and several engineering interns: Danya Rose, Timothy Martell, Oden Calvert.
The next month, Mini-Cubes and TIS launched 3U cubesat “Serenity” on the maiden flight of Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket, which sadly suffered an engine failure shortly after launch and was lost along with all its payloads without reaching orbit. A 3p PocketQube named “Challenger” made it to Low Earth Orbit on SpaceX’s Transporter-3 rocket in January 2022, but its solar panels failed to deploy and the satellite froze to death before the batteries could be charged.
Continuing on and beginning to generate more outside interest, the company rebranded to Quub and grew some more. Exactly one year after moving to its second facility, Quub moved again to the 2600 square foot office called the Quub Research Center, or QRC. The team now includes CFO Tracey Craft, COO Chelsea Beningo, CDO Phillip Rzucidlo, and engineer Nick Elzer. Quub defined and enacted processes that allow it to iteratively design, build, test, launch, and operate multiple satellite builds, with 3D printing, engineering, test, cleanroom, and office spaces all on-site.
Then, on October 1, 2022, the 3U CubeSat “TIS Serenity” (developed by Quub for Teachers in Space) successfully launched on Firefly’s second-ever attempted flight of their Alpha rocket, and was deployed to Low Earth Orbit. Although the satellite’s orbital lifetime was badly foreshortened by its low altitude, Quub was able to receive a faint signal from Serenity and identify her with the USSF 18th Space Group before her reentry just a few days later.
At this time, Quub has secured multiple contracts with government and commercial entities, taking things several steps closer to the ultimate goal of having a flock of PocketQube satellites in orbit to track and monitor the effects of climate change on our planet. Watch for Quub’s next launches in early 2023, and more to be announced soon!