I am an Associate Professor at UT Tartu Observatory, Department of Space Technology in Estonia working on the electric solar wind sail, or E-sail, and interested in deep space, astrobiology and cosmology. I am a Co-Founder CEO of Nanocraft, a 3D space startup in Latvia.
While working at UT Tartu Observatory since 2012, I have been a core team member of the first Estonian satellite ESTCube-1 and a leading co-founder of the ESTCube-2 mission, both include E-sail demo payloads. During 2016–2017, I was the Head of Space Technology Department bringing in the second generation of projects and PhD students, after the founder Mart Noorma. In 2018, I led an In-Orbit Demonstration and Validation proposal for the European Commission which supported the ESTCube-2 launch in October 2023. Together with the OPIC PI Mihkel Pajusalu, we brought the Comet Interceptor mission to Estonia as the first instrument contribution to an ESA science mission. I am the idea author, editor and writer of the Space Travel Blog. During 2022–2023, I was the Guest Editor of the Special Issue "Advances in CubeSat Sails and Tethers".
During 2019–2021, I was a Postdoc at Aalto University in Finland, establishing Aalto's Comet Interceptor software development & simulation activities, working on Foresail-1 and Foresail-2 mission designs, and supervising students developing Space Imaging Simulator for Proximity Operations.
During 2017–2018, I served at NASA Ames Research Center's Mission Design Division, advancing the Multi-Asteroid Touring concept and developing the orbit maintenance module for Trade-Space Analysis Tool for Constellations.
In 2016, I received the IEEE Harry Rowe Mimno Award as the first author of the paper ESTCube-1 In-Orbit Experience and Lessons Learned.
I received a PhD degree in Physics from the University of Tartu in 2015 on ESTCube-1 attitude determination & control. During PhD studies, I spent a year at the Finnish Meteorological Institute working together with Pekka Janhunen, the inventor of electric sail. I received BSc and MSc degrees in computer science from Ventspils University College, Latvia in 2009 and 2011. During master studies, I spent an exchange semester in Lund University, Sweden and did my thesis work in Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland.
Photo credit: A n d r ō V i s u m u o t ā j ō