Students from Lassonde head to Canadian Space Agency to design and build satellite

As part of the Canadian CubeSat Project, PhD student Chonggang Du, master’s student Vidushi Jain and David Dobrzanski, a fourth-year undergraduate student from the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University, visited the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) from May 6 to 10 to take part in training workshops to learn about designing a miniature satellite, known as a CubeSat.

Photos of the CubeSat assembly process in Professor George Zhu’s lab

Announced in 2017, the Canadian CubeSat Project provides students the opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, particularly in the space domain. The program is an opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience.

The group from Lassonde is one of 15 teams selected by the CSA to design a satellite that will be put into orbit in 2021.

The team is led by Professor George Zhu, York University’s Research Chair in Space Technology in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Lassonde. Zhu 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 permafrost and ice coverage in Northern Canada. The satellite will be sent to the International Space Station in 2021 and then ejected into orbit approximately 400 kilometres above Earth.

As part of the project, the students will have the opportunity to experience operating satellites and conducting science experiments in space.

To learn more, contact Zhu at or visit the CSA website.