Satellite created by University of Alberta team to take next step in out-of-this-world endeavour
A little over a month after a cube satellite created by a University of Alberta team was launched into space, the spacecraft is set to be deployed from the International Space Station.
The satellite, known as Ex-Alta 1, was launched into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida on April 18 and on Friday, at 2:55 a.m. MT, was sent into orbit.
“It’s been kind of a long high now,” project manager Charles Nokes said. “It deployed… seven or eight hours ago now, and we were there watching it live deploy. That was really exciting.
“We were just sitting there, seeing it fly out from the space station and into space all on its own. That was really exciting.”
The Alberta team will have to wait until about 11 p.m. MT Friday until Ex-Alta 1 is in orbit for the chance to communicate with it directly, but there’s already been signs of success.
“We have three confirmed beacons received from the satellite over east Asia, from South Korea and Japan,” Nokes said. “Waking up to that this morning, that was a real energy boost, a huge sigh of relief.
“We know it’s working… now we can move to the next stage.”
Watch below: On April 18, 2017, Emily Mertz filed this report about a University of Alberta team sending the first Alberta-made satellite into space.
Roughly the size of a shoebox, Ex-Alta 1 is part of an international cube satellite mission called QB50 that involves 38 other satellites pieced together at universities across the globe.
“Our objective with this satellite is to study space weather in the lower thermosphere at an altitude between 200 and 400 kilometres above the earth’s surface,” Nokes explained.
The university said the mission’s goal is to learn more about those parts space that “represent a threat to trillions of dollars worth of electrical power and communications infrastructure here on Earth.”
The Ex-Alta 1 could spend two years in space.
Last month’s launch marked the first time a spacecraft has been built in the province of Alberta and sent into space.
-With files from Emily Mertz
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