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

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

North Island Rising: Carbon pricing

“I’ve been fortunate enough to hear from and talk with all sides of the climate discussion”

Port McNeill council wants to see a plan on how to protect and invest tax dollars

“if we can make $40,000 or $50,000 in interest, why not, as it could reduce taxes”

Gate House Theatre presents: A Suessified Christmas Carol

The play was an entertaining, amusing and engaging blend of the rhyme based story telling.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: San Josef Bay

“I have always had an overwhelming desire to get to the sea stacks as soon as possible”

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Most Read