An announcement made by the director of the NASA Ames Research Center, in Moffett Field, California, Pete Worden, took everyone by surprise. The official said that inmates at the San Quentin State Prison are currently working on components for upcoming satellite missions.
The inmates build the so-called Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployers (PPOD), which are the devices on which very small satellites are attached during launch, and from which they are deployed to low-Earth orbit once they reach outer space.
“Only Pete Worden would do something like that. He is a real independent hero to me in blazing new trails rather that sticking close to the safe road,” says one of the inventors of the CubeSat, Bob Twiggs.
Worden says he came up with the idea after an acquaintance told him that the prison was looking to establish a couple of innovative education and training programs, Space