Research satellite from Winnipeg to head to space with moon rocks

A group of university students from Winnipeg, Canada have been selected by the Canadian Space Agency to send a satellite into orbit. Years of tinkering have finally borne fruit.

From all over Canada, 15 teams have been awarded between $200,000 to $250,000 to design and construct their satellites by the Canadian Space Agency. The chosen teams will launch tiny cubic satellites (alternatively called CubeSats) that are capable of carrying cameras, sensors, and computers. Each cube can fit in an adult hand, and they can also be assembled like Lego for more significant projects.

According to the Canadian astronaut Jenni Sidey, the projects will give researchers the capability to carry out their space missions. The thrill of this should ignite interest in others to work in this field. It is the primary purpose for which the decision of funding small-scale projects at the university level was taken.

According to Matt Driedger, an engineering student at the University of Manitoba, the inspiration for Winnipeg team's satellite started with a group of engineering students. They were pursuing their under graduation and designing satellites for “fun.” Matt and other members of the University of Manitoba Space Application and Technology Society will start constructing the satellite soon. It would be their fifth try.

The primary challenge would be to fit in the required components. These components include computer chips and batteries. The team makes use of 3D plastic models to ensure everything meets in, including screws and bolts. Their mission involves sending minerals and rocks (including moon rocks) as well as tiny meteorites. The aim is to observe how the changes in substances take place in space.

The data will provide scientists an improved sense of questions like where space rocks come from, and their age, according to Philip Ferguson. He is an engineering professor and project lead at the University of Manitoba. Scientists are aware about how synthetic materials like aluminum age in space since people have sent plenty of satellites over the course of time. However, natural materials are yet to be researched.

The researchers will observe how phenomena such as atomic oxygen, space radiation and micro-meteorites affect natural materials. The students of Winnipeg will conduct most of the work. The Winnipeg has also received a contribution from the students of Stonewall Centennial School. The satellite is reported to be launched in about two to three years.