Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Astronaut Jennifer Sidey unveiled the research teams selected to take part in the CSA Canadian CubeSat Project at an event hosted by the University of Manitoba, May 4.
A team of researchers from York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering led by Professor George Zhu is among 15 teams from across Canada selected to participate in the initiative.
Zhu is a York University Research Chair in Space Technology and has been awarded a $200,000 grant to support the project, which will be used to test a Canadian-developed wide-angle camera that observes snow and ice coverage in Northern Canada. The satellite will be sent to the International Space Station in 2020 and then ejected into orbit approximately 400 kilometres above Earth.
Data collected is expected to help map the thawing of Arctic ice and permafrost and give a better picture of the impacts of climate change.
Zhu’s team will operate the satellite from the ground station at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering.
“Our mission could provide a means to conduct earth observation at a much lower cost and higher frequency,” said Zhu, “It will also provide a real flight opportunity for students to design, build and operate a satellite, which has not been possible in the past.”
As part of the project, the York University engineering students will have the opportunity to experience operating satellites and to conduct science experiments in space.
“York is a Canadian leader in space engineering and technology, and we continue to build this area of strength, including through the innovative research led by Professor Zhu,” said York University’s President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “This grant from the CSA will further enhance our students’ experiential learning opportunities, while supporting Canada’s space mission aimed at better understanding the impacts of climate change.”