Home Science In a B.C. first, UVic mini-satellite launched into space after four years of work

In a B.C. first, UVic mini-satellite launched into space after four years of work

by News Desk
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This excitement has been created over the years thanks to the approximately 140 people who are part of the team at the University of Victoria’s Aerospace Research Centre.

A University of Victoria satellite the size of a two-liter milk carton designed to modulate light was launched into space Saturday after four years of work by dozens of students, faculty and researchers.

ORCASat began its journey into space at 11:20 am on Saturday as part of NASA’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch.

Early Sunday morning around 4:00 am, the satellite will be delivered to the International Space Station where it will wait a few weeks before being launched into space and orbiting the Earth for as long as it can survive.

Saturday’s successful launch was quite impressive, as Tuesday’s scheduled launch was postponed due to bad weather. UVic watchers went home after a delayed launch.

A nervous ORCASat project manager, Alex Doknjas, walked into the family’s living room at 10:30 am on Saturday to have a video chat with about 20 loved ones, including the UVic group, to discuss the event. We saw it together.

Cheers and applause erupted as the rocket was launched on time.

“It’s great. It’s great,” he said.

Just before the plane was scheduled to take off, the wind picks up a little at the launch site, and Dokunas said he was worried it would get scraped off again, but that didn’t happen.

This excitement has been created over the years thanks to the approximately 140 people who are part of the team at the University of Victoria’s Aerospace Research Centre.

Full-time researchers, co-ops, and volunteer students from UVic Satellite Design, UBC Orbit, and Simon Fraser University Satellite Design all contributed.

The ORCASat (Optical Reference Calibration Satellite) is 10 cm x 10 cm x 23 cm and weighs 2.5 kg.

Doknjas said that to his knowledge this is the first Cubesat designed and built in the state. “This is a pretty big milestone.”

OCASat is scheduled to launch between December 29th and the first week of January.

ORCASat orbits the Earth at a distance of 400 kilometers and travels at a speed of 7.5 kilometers per second. “Pretty fast.”

We don’t know exactly how long it will last, but it could take six to eight months, and up to 18 months, Doknjas said. , which can affect the lifetime of the satellite.

ORCASat is essentially an artificial star and an orbital reference light source visible to telescopes on Earth.

Astronomers can measure the brightness of ORCASat just as they would any celestial body. At the same time, the satellite uses two laser sources to measure the amount of light the celestial body is emitting.

This will allow us to calibrate our ground-based telescopes to measure the absolute brightness of a celestial object, rather than what it looks like after it has passed through the atmosphere and the optics of the telescope.

This is the first satellite with a light source capable of performing this experiment with this level of precision.

This is a proof-of-concept technology, Doknjas said, which could be developed for future applications in areas such as climate change, earth observation, and methane gas research.

[email protected]

[email protected]

> Online: orcastat.ca/mission.

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