Thor Wilson



Mr. Thor Wilson

Research Scientist III, Rotorcraft Systems Engineering & Simulation Center (RSESC)


Mr. Wilson attended Auburn University, receiving a Bachelor's Degree of Science in Physics in 2007 and a Bachelor's Degree of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering in 2008. While attending Auburn he worked several years on AubieSat-1, Auburn’s first student built CubeSat. His participation included Communications Subsystem Lead, System Engineer, and Project Manager. AubieSat-1 was successfully launched in Oct 2011 and completed its mission objectives.

Mr. Wilson worked at the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center (RSESC) on Fast Affordable Science and Technology Satellite Huntsville (FASTSAT-HSV) flight cabling. FASTSAT-HSV was successfully launched in November 2010, as part of the STP-26 mission, and operated successfully. Mr. Wilson then worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from October 2010 to May 2013. While there he worked on several different missions, including Cubesat On-board processing Validation Experiment (COVE), Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS), and Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3). COVE was a technology demonstration for a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) operating on a CubeSat built at the University of Michigan (MCubed). The first CubeSat had an anomaly, but MCubed-2 was successfully launched in December 2013 and is operating successfully. OPALS was another technology demonstration for laser communications going on the International Space Station (ISS). OPALS is scheduled to launch in March 2014. OCO-3 is a science instrument monitoring global Earth carbon dioxide scheduled to be installed on the ISS 2016. It is a mission going to the ISS. It is scheduled to launch in 2016. Mr. Wilson has now been working at RSESC since August 2013.


  • B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Auburn University, 2008
  • B.S., Physics, Auburn University, 2007

Honors & Awards

  • M-Cubed/COVE CubeSat flight team - For exceptional development and launch of JPL’s first CubeSat payload to advance on-board processing technology for the next generation of Earth observing instruments.


  • D. Bekker, T. Werne, T. Wilson, P. Pingree, “The Prototype Development Phase of the CubeSat On-Board Processing Validation Experiment”, Proceedings of the 2010 IEEE Aerospace Conference, March 2011.
  • D. Bekker, T. Werne, T. Wilson, P. Pingree, K. Dontchev, M. Heywood, R. Ramos, B. Freyberg, F. Saca, B. Glichrist, A. Gallimore, J. Cutler, “A CubeSat Design to Validate the Virtex-5 FPGA for Spaceborne Image Processing”, Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE Aerospace Conference, March 2010.