Jesse Hiemstra

Work in Spacecraft Mechanical Systems

Design & Analysis
Loads & Stress

R&D at Bradford Space

In 2020 I joined Bradford Space to work on spacecraft propellant tanks and propulsion systems, with an emphasis on design for manufacturing. Among other things, I also contributed to the ongoing development of the DAPPER radio cosmology mission.

SquareRocket DAPPER Render

R&D at Deep Space Industries

From 2016 I worked in a research and development capacity at Deep Space Industries, the world's second asteroid mining company (depending on how you count).

Comet Tank Vibe Test

While at DSI I designed, analyzed, and built positive-expulsion propellant tanks for the Comet line of electrothermal water thrusters. The first Comet systems formed part of four spacecraft launched into low Earth orbit by a re-used Falcon 9 vehicle on 3 December 2018. Since then, somewhere around twenty more Comet systems have flown.

SSO-A Launch

Also at DSI, I contributed to the Meteor bipropellant rocket thruster (below), as well as the Prospector & Xplorer spacecraft concepts.

Meteor glamor shot. Image credit: DSI

Explorer, formerly Prospector Meteor, the core of Prospector

Believe it or not, asteroid mining is a thing again and we wish them godspeed.

Mechanical Design and Development
of a Modular Drag Sail for the CanX-7 Nanosatellite Mission

Exploded View
Forces and Torques Moment Convention
CanX-7 Launch

CanX-7 was a small satellite built by the Space Flight Laboratory at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, which incorporates a deorbiting payload I designed and built. A PSLV-C35 launch vehicle carried it to low Earth orbit on 25 September 2016. The sail deployed successfully in May 2017 at roughly 700 km altitude, and it re-entered four years later in April 2022, hastening its natural decay by more than a hundred years.

This video depicts one of the many ground tests of a single drag sail module. (I am behind the camera, muttering "beauty!") The full payload consists of four modules arranged to form a large square sail.

CanX-7 spacecraft test

The M.A.Sc. thesis I published in 2014 describes my contribution to the CanX-7 drag sail. (I composed the text of the thesis using Gingko, an application that combines the flexibility of index cards with the structure of a hierarchical outline. It is an extremely useful tool for writing, and I highly recommend it.)
Thesis Document [PDF] [HTML]

These are some relevant publications to which I contributed: 2013 Smallsat paper [PDF] [HTML], 2012 Smallsat paper [PDF] [HTML], 2012 Summer Cubesat Developer's Workshop presentation [PDF] [HTML].

Images from past projects:

Orbits 1 Orbits 2

Concept sketches:

End FittingSkull
More sketches...

Recent photos:

Flickr Profile

Aside from Flickr, I am not the person with the same name on all the popular social networking websites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., etc.). Reluctantly, I am building an account on LinkedIn, but am most happy to correspond by email:

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