FalconSAT is the United States Air Force Academy's (USAFA) small satellite engineering program. Satellites are designed, built, tested, and operated by Academy cadets. The project is administered by the USAFA Space Systems Research Center under the direction of the Department of Astronautics. Most of the cadets who work on the project are pursuing a bachelor of science degree in astronautical engineering, although students from other disciplines (typically electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or computer science) join the project.
Compared to most commercial satellite projects, FalconSAT is considerably lower budget, and follows a very accelerated development cycle. Because of the near total personnel turnover every year (the program is generally a senior cadet project, and graduating cadets must be replaced yearly) it forces the cadet engineers to very quickly learn and become familiar with the satellite systems to which they are assigned.
In addition to the above, there were plans to construct FalconSAT-4 (FS 4) satellite, but the mission planned for this satellite was deemed too ambitious and funding could not be found for the satellite, leading to cancellation early on in the development. The satellite was replaced with the simpler FalconSAT-5.