Saskatchewan in Space Part 4: University of Saskatchewan Space Team’s Cube Satellite
We would like to thank the University of Saskatchewan Space Team, University of Saskatchewan Computer Museum, Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site, Dr. Dafydd Williams, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Douglas Lindner and Ken Mayhew for providing information and/or photos for these blog posts.
Saskatchewan is probably not the first place that comes to mind when people discuss space exploration, but there are a number of Saskatchewan connections to this topic! One of the WDM’s curatorial priorities is the collection and preservation of Saskatchewan innovations. We work towards this priority through projects like the Saskatchewan Patent Index and our Fuelled by Innovation exhibit at the WDM Saskatoon, where about half the vehicles are Saskatchewan-made.
Over the course of five weeks we will share five website features about space exploration and Saskatchewan innovation. Each feature will highlight one person or object with ties to Saskatchewan. From bricks made in Claybank to computer technology developed in Saskatoon to chainmail made in Swift Current, Saskatchewan has plenty of ties to space exploration!
Our fourth feature in this series is about the University of Saskatchewan Space Team and the cube satellite they’re building.
Students from the University of Saskatchewan and SaskPolytech recently constructed a cube satellite. The RADSAT-SK project, as it is called, is supported by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) as part of the Canadian CubeSat project (CCP).
The CCP program is focused on providing university students with hands-on engineering experience while also allowing them to develop valuable leadership and communication skills.
In this project, students designed and built a 20x10x10cm satellite. Though there was faculty oversight, the project was driven by undergraduate students. Students were responsible for the design, construction, and later operation of this device. Over 100 students are involved in the project under the supervision of Dr. Sean Maw and Dr. Brian Berscheid at the University of Saskatchewan.
According to the student team, the satellite has two main objectives: to test a new type of radiation dosimeter developed by University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering faculty member Dr. Li Chen, and to test high-concentration melanin’s efficacy as a radiation shield in space, a concept developed by Dr. Kate Dadachova.
The first steps for the team were to design each satellite component, prepare the flight hardware, and test individual components of the satellite. Later steps involved assembling the satellite, testing the communications technology, and running a mock mission to ensure that everything functioned as intended.
The satellite was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on June 3, 2023. From the ISS it will then be deployed into orbit. It is expected to orbit for one to two years. While in orbit, data will be transmitted from the satellite to the University of Saskatchewan.
This is the first satellite designed, tested and built in Saskatchewan to be launched into space.
The students involved in the project emphasize that the project would not be possible without the support of the Principal Investigators Dr. Sean Maw and Dr. Brian Berscheid and the project sponsors: University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering, Canadian Space Agency, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, University of Saskatchewan Space Team, GALAXIA Mission Systems, Calian Advanced Technologies and MDA Ltd.
By: Kaiti Hannah, Curatorial Associate