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N.B. students shoot for the stars with province’s first-ever satellite slated to launch

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Satellite designed by N.B. students slated to launch into space
A small satellite is launching from Florida in the next few weeks – with a New Brunswick connection. When it lifts off, it’ll carry the work of more than 300 students into space. Anna Mandin reports – Mar 12, 2024

The work of hundreds of New Brunswick students will soon come to fruition, as a satellite they built and designed is slated to launch into space in the coming weeks.

“This is the first of its kind — the first satellite to be designed solely within New Brunswick,” said Troy Lavigne, the project’s co-principal investigator.

The bread-loaf-sized satellite named VIOLET, named after the provincial flower, will study the ionosphere, a layer of the earth’s atmosphere, with its solar panels and antenna.

Lavigne said they hope the project will help further their understanding of space weather.

VIOLET is the result of a collaboration between the University of New Brunswick, the Université de Moncton and the New Brunswick Community College.

Researchers hope VIOLET will help them better understand space weather. Anna Mandin/Global News

Lavigne said with more than 300 students involved, the project is “one of the largest student-engaged projects at UNB.”

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Joudi Al-Lathqani, a third-year mechanical engineering student at UNB, said she did not expect to work on a satellite during her undergraduate.

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“I didn’t even think it would be possible to work in the space industry in general,” she said, adding that the work was part of her degree’s co-op.

“Assembling was so much fun because it was almost like it was like assembling LEGO.”

Fellow mechanical engineering student Noah Lydon said it was a lot of work to build the satellite and make all the systems work together. He travelled to Montreal to give the satellite to the Canadian Space Agency.

“That was awesome because all of our hard work kind of came to an end, and we got to deliver the satellite and hand it over,” he said.

VIOLET is slated to launch in Florida with a Space X flight in the next two weeks.

— with files from Alex Cooke

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