Connor Highlander serves as both deputy program manager and the Structures subsystem team lead with the Space Systems Research Laboratory (SSRL). His responsibilities as a deputy program manager include supporting the development of a highly reliable Cube Satellite bus for the next SSRL mission (SLU-05). As the Structures subsystem team lead, Highlander is responsible for developing the primary and secondary structures, as well as testing and transporting structures, for the upcoming SLU-05 mission.
Before reaching his current position, Highlander was a member of both the Systems and Structures subsystem teams, working with the team members to support and develop Rascal-1 (SLU-04). He also served as the project manager for a clean water research and development project with the WindAid Institute in Peru; the scope of which involved developing a low budget, manufacturable water desalination unit in the country which currently sits with the rural coastal fishing village of Playa Blanca Peru.
His career at SSRL began with his involvement with the Structures and Systems subsystem teams for Rascal-1 which featured a newly modulated design and the initial iteration of a standardized primary structure. Other duties that he has had in the lab have included extensively coordinating, operating, and overseeing both system and component level test on things such as the solar cells, batteries, and data control systems. He also served as the Public Relations Committee Chair in the spring of 2017, taking SSRL to both the St. Louis Area Undergraduate Research Symposium, and the Missouri Space Grand Consortium, developing, publishing, and presenting the necessary materials for these conferences.
Highlander was born and raised in Maryville IL, graduating from Collinsville Highschool in 2016 where he competed in football, wrestling, and track, and was a member of student council, Key Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the STEM club. He is expected to graduate from Parks College at Saint Louis University in 2020 with a Major in Aerospace Engineering and a Minor in Computer Science. Currently he is seeking internships and employment opportunities in the space systems engineering and leadership with hopes of being able to return to school in the future for a masters in Astro-Physics