B.C. university to launch mini-satellite, study dark energy

University of Victoria engineering students to work with B.C. designed CubeSat, only 10cm by 10cm

With a laser pen and a model sphere about the size of a baseball, Bryce Edwards demonstrated how the 10-centimetre wide mini-satellite will diffuse light and allow astronomers a chance to better understand the origins and future of the universe.

Called the CubeSat, this little satellite can help astronomers explore the origins of the universe, Edwards said.

Despite being so small, the CubeSat could minimize the problem dark energy presents while also minimizing uncertainties in astronomical measurements by a factor of up to 10. Once in orbit, a laser light emitted from the satellite will act as a kind of artificial star to better calibrate ground-based optical telescopes.

“We still don’t know a lot about dark energy and this can help us begin to measure that,” said UVic astronomy student Ruth Digby, who helped explain the benefits of the CubeSat on Friday.

It measures 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm and packs a lot of technology in a small space, says the student project lead with the UVic Satellite Design Team that presented the project in UVic’s observatory dome in the Bob Wright Centre on Friday.

The CubeSat’s main function is to measure light. It is set to launch in 2020 from the International Space Station and will have a lot of implications for astronomy, and can be used by observatories all over the world.

“If you take a picture of a satellite from the ground, and one from the sky, then we can then compare them and see how much light loss we get,” Edwards said.

The CubeSat will orbit the world in about 90 minutes, at roughly seven kilometres per second, for about two years. At that time the minor amount of atmosphere on the Earth’s outer limits will have created enough friction to draw the wee satellite back into the atmosphere, at which point it will burn up upon re-entry.

CubeSat came to be through a new national post-secondary student space initiative today called the Canadian CubeSat Project.

The team features more than 20 engineering students from UVic who are collaborting with UBC and SFU, as the ORCAASat team (the Optical and Radio Calibration for Atmospheric Attenuation Satellite) is about 50 people in total from various disciplines.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge BC Winter Games athletes get sent off at Reppin’ the Ridge

Competitors gathered with coaches, parents, games representatives and local politicians

City has new leader for economic development

Wendy Dupley says millennials will like Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge artist overcomes brain injury through creativity

Michael Sawyer suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a traffic accident

Ridge Meadows RCMP team up with Port Coquitlam

Man facing four charges from three cities

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

UPDATE: TransLink gets injunction ahead of pipeline, Indigenous rights protest

The protest rally is in opposition to the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipeline projects

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Mysterious bang booms over Sumas Mountain once again

Police unsure of source, quarry companies say, ‘not us’

Most Read