Icarus Interstellar University of Miami Chapter


In the ever-evolving world of science, energetic innovation is key to providing students with the inspiration necessary to dive into the modern STEM workforce. We joined Icarus Interstellar as the official University of Miami student chapter with that in mind, and with the goal of looking into not only what can be done today, but forward into what will be possible tomorrow.

After becoming accepted as an official chapter through our initial research proposal of a novel spacecraft, which we named a “µProbe”, we met with Icarus Interstellar President Dr. Andreas Tziolas to discuss what our place in the organization would be. In addition to considering the possibility of working on other projects alongside researchers of Icarus, we decided to heavily pursue our original research proposal.

University of Miami Icarus Interstellar chapter meeting

Pictured above: sophomore Alexandra Damley-Strnad (Research and Development Chair) and freshman Shayna Hume (Project Administrator) taking the team through a run down of the projects subsystems on 4/1/15. From left to right: freshmen Matthew Ludwig, Michael Lennon, and Richard Andersson.


Thus, this chapter’s goal moving forward is to investigate the Pioneer Anomaly through a new CubeSat type platform being designed for deep-space probe applications. Our semester goal is the completion of a limited conceptual design review and basic outline for the new μProbe platform, leading to a draft paper outlining the “μProbe” platform, specifics of a deep space exploration mission, and potential market for this product. We’re excited to accomplish these objectives through R&D in the science and technologies that will make interstellar flight a reality, igniting the public’s interest, and engaging with all those prepared to invest in interstellar exploration. We’re ready to jump into something unlike any other.

To begin the research process, we held elections early in the spring of 2015 to determine the students who would carry the project onto the upcoming year. Freshman Shayna Hume and sophomores Alexandra Damley-Strnad and Christian Marquina were elected as Project Administrator, Research and Development Chair, and Secretary, respectively.

Univery of Miami Icarus Interstellar chapter members

Pictured above: A team photo from our meeting on 4/1/15. From left to right beginning on the top row: senior Nicolas Rongione (Founder), sophomore Christian Marquina (Secretary), freshmen Jordan Buren, Michael Lennon, Jeremiah Truesdell, Matthew Ludwig and Richard Andersson, sophomore Alexandra Damley-Strnad (Research and Development Chair) and freshman Shayna Hume (Project Administrator).


Since then, our team has continued to expand our membership and have an active team of over ten students who show a strong interest and commitment to research in STEM. After an interest meeting on April 1, 2015, we split into Research and Development teams, led by Damley-Strnad, which will continue to conduct research into the potential workings of the subsystems of the µProbe. These teams have begun to write a series of reports on the systems of the µProbe in order to better develop it to suit the purposes of our research.

We hope by the end of the summer to have a committed, highly active group of individuals who will continue on with us to develop our ideas and provide energy to the University of Miami chapter of Icarus Interstellar.