– Tara Sharpe
Two recent University of Victoria engineering graduates are on site today at the Kennedy Space Center to witness the launch of a lifetime. UVic is at the forefront of modern space research and the duo in Florida is joined by some of their team there, as well as virtually by a crowd gathered here on campus.
Update as of 1 p.m., Nov. 22 by NASA: Due to poor weather conditions in the area along Florida’s Space Coast, NASA is now targeting liftoff of SpaceX’s 26th commercial resupply services mission for 2:20 p.m. EST Saturday, Nov. 26. Stay tuned on NASA Live for the official video stream.
We started 10 years ago with design and manufacturing. And we started from zero. Students created the satellite club at UVic. And, thanks to their efforts and those of all the scientists, engineers and technicians over the years, the ORCASat mission is going to space. This is the first UVic satellite in space. It’s an exciting time.
—UVic mechanical engineer Afzal Suleman, Canada Research Chair in Computational and Experimental Mechanics and founding director of UVic’s Centre for Aerospace Research (CfAR)
At 12:54 p.m., UVic’s ORCASat satellite was scheduled for lift off with NASA’s SpaceX CRS-26. It is however dependent on weather and everyone was awaiting word on the countdown as of 12:45 p.m.
Built by a diverse team of engineering students and scientists led by Canada Research Chair and UVic aerospace systems engineer Afzal Suleman, the miniature satellite once on its way will rendezvous with the International Space Station then be deployed to collect data for 18 months.
The UVic satellite won a national competition, the Canadian CubeSat Project (CCP) by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and, as a result, is one of only two post-secondary projects from Canada chosen to be part of NASA’s launch.
After it’s set in orbit around our planet, ORCASat (for Optical Reference Calibration Satellite) will provide a unique artificial star reference for the world’s ground-based telescopes, helping contribute to precise calibration of space instrumentation that measures the brightness of stars.
Nearly 10 years ago, ECOSat—a UVic club of undergrad and graduate students gaining real-life experience working on a nanosatellite—was part of exciting initial steps at UVic that are now culminating with this NASA launch. ECOSat won a Canada-wide satellite competition, with no plans for launch. (It was a design challenge for mission ideas.)
UVic is watching the live feed from our campus. NASA Live (NASA TV for all live events)
Keywords: astronomy, technology, physics and astronomy, space
People: Afzal Suleman
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