Cahoy Awarded Tenure

Monday, May 6, 2019

EAPS congratulates Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics Kerri Cahoy, who has been granted tenure by MIT Executive Committee of the Corporation.

The following news article is adapted from a press release issued by MIT’s AeroAstro.

Kerri Cahoy, associate professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics in AeroAstro with a joint appointment in EAPS, leads the MIT Space Telecommunications, Astronomy, and Radiation (STAR) Lab, part of the Space Systems Laboratory.

Cahoy’s research aims to improve understanding of the Earth and exoplanets through advances in spacecraft technology, particularly in the field of nanosatellites called CubeSats. She has made outstanding contributions to the innovation and engineering of these low-cost, integrated, small space systems, enabling the science while reducing risk and cost for future missions.

Focusing on the areas of weather sensing, connectivity, and exoplanet detection and characterization, Cahoy has dedicated her research to developing some of the key technologies that make CubeSats useful for space missions. These include Microsized Microwave Atmospheric Satellite (MicroMAS) and the Microwave Radiometer Technology Acceleration (MiRaTA) missions, which could image severe weather systems and measure atmospheric temperature through clouds. The STAR Lab research also focuses on understanding space weather, identifying when spacecraft are affected by anomalies due to interactions with energetic particles, and improving their performance and reliability, including performing radiation testing on commercial CubeSat components. She has made significant advances in the laser communication terminals and ground station software to communicate with a rapidly moving CubeSat constellation low Earth orbit; an upcoming mission is CubeSat Laser Infrared CrosslinK (CLICK). Her outstanding leadership in the small satellite community is widely recognized. Cahoy also supports space telescope missions, such as the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) to directly image exoplanets, and is developing a 6U CubeSat to test MEMS deformable mirror technology for high contrast coronagraph wavefront control systems.

Cahoy is also keen to ensure her students receive an outstanding education as well as mentorship. She has incorporated research into her courses, providing extraordinary educational experiences for our students. She has revitalized AeroAstro space capstone and satellite engineering courses by adding more depth and rigor, while incorporating guest lectures from industrial and academic leaders. While at MIT, she has advised over 130 UROP students, and she received the MIT Outstanding Faculty UROP Mentor Award in 2013. In 2018, she was elected as an AIAA Associate Fellow.  

Cahoy earned a BS in 2000 in electrical engineering from Cornell University. She went on to receive her MS and PhD in 2002 and 2008, respectively, from Stanford University in electrical engineering, working with the Radio Science Team on Mars Global Surveyor. From 2006 to 2008, Cahoy was a senior payload and communication sciences engineer at Space Systems Loral in Palo Alto, CA. After completing her PhD, from 2008 to 2010, Cahoy worked as a NASA postdoctoral program fellow in exoplanet exploration at NASA Ames Research Center. From 2010 to 2011, she was a radio science research scientist on the MIT Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) lunar mission team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Cahoy joined the MIT faculty in 2011.