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HomeNewsNWT-built satellite headed to International Space Station

NWT-built satellite headed to International Space Station

Aurora College’s AuroraSat nanosatellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida around 6:30 pm on March 14, headed to the International Space Station.

High school students from the Inuvik Robotics Club helped the Aurora Research Institute staff to design and build the satellite. 

Nine students were involved, including a computer science student on a six-month internship.

“The exposure to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for all Northerners during the satellite build and flying virtually as part of the AuroraSat mission, will spark the next generation of Northern space explorers.” Aurora College VP of Research Joel McAlister said in a release.

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Upon arrival, astronauts will launch AuroraSat into orbit. The satellite will not pass over Inuvik however, staff will be able to communicate with the object for four five-minute blocks per day and the satellite is expected to remain in orbit for approximately one year. 

Aurora College has been partnering with the Canadian CubeSat Project (CCP) by constructing AuroraSat in collaboration with Yukon University and the University of Alberta. According to the CCP, a CubeSat must weigh less than two kilograms and be a 10×10 cm cube using ‘off-the-shelf’ electronic components. AuroraSat is a two-unit 10x10x22.70 cm CubeSat.

Aurora College has developed three missions for AuroraSat.

The Northern Images Mission will display artwork by NWT youth in front of a camera mounted on the satellite and photographed with the earth in the background.

The Northern Voices Mission will feature recordings of stories from the north and transmit them to radios across the country.

The Northern Games Mission is an interactive game where data packets will be transmitted in certain geographic zones which requires global cooperation to complete the message.

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