AlbertaSat is Making Space History in Alberta
This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
It’s not often that a group etches their name into our country’s history books, but 2016 ASTech Award Winner for Group Innovation Under 30 AlbertaSat is on their way to doing exactly that thanks to their mission into space.
AlbertaSat is participating in the QB50 project, a joint space mission involving university students from 28 countries. Each team is building one of 50 cube satellites that are scheduled to be launched together in March 2017 to the International Space Station (ISS) and then dispersed into the Earth’s lower thermosphere. This launch involves an unprecedented number of satellites, which “allows us to take multiple measurements around the Earth using similar instruments to get an idea of what the Earth is doing and how the atmosphere is behaving,” explains Collin Cupido, the technical lead of AlbertaSat and co-founder of Promethean Labs.
Cupido says this mission is especially important because “the region between orbit and the start of the atmosphere, where things start getting warm as you’re re-entering, isn’t very well understood.” He says the measurements generated by the satellites will provide important data to broaden our understanding of Earth’s ionosphere and upper atmosphere.
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AlbertaSat s a group of University of Alberta undergraduate students who are working on making Alberta a big name in the aerospace industry by developing the province's first satellite, Ex-Alta 1, and launching it in December 2016 as part of the worldwide QB50 mission.