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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Burn scars now a ‘badge of honour’

White Rock woman shares story of survival after a terrible accident in 1978

Nobody injured after vehicle crashes into two Surrey businesses

Fleetwood incident happened at approximately 11 a.m.

Historic Stewart Farm’s Royal Victorian Party

Event celebrated in South Surrey last week

Quick action likely saved White Rock man

South Surrey’s Patrick Storoshenko was there to help, when nobody else was

Buy a lotto ticket and be a hero to B.C. burn victims

The Hometown Heroes Lottery is offering up seven grand prizes including a home in Lake Country

B.C. VIEWS: Our poverty reduction plan is already in place

NDP has another promise it needs to appear to keep

No more Canada Day parade at Canada Place

Annual Vancouver parade has been cancelled due to costs

UPDATE: One dead, two in hospital after Highway 1 crash near Bridal Falls

Closure expected to last hours, while drivers are told to take detours

Pedestrian dead after early morning Vancouver crash

Collision happened on Cambie Street around 3 a.m.

WestJet pilot strike averted as parties agree to mediation

Pilots had warned they could go on strike starting May 19

Out of control wildfire prompts restriction around Allie Lake

One of the first large wildfires of the 2018 season is blazing out of control

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Langley event one of five held in B.C.

Most Read