Students building satellites and reputations

AlbertaSat wins special ASTech Award

Robyn Braun - 01 November 2016

(Edmonton) A group of students who built Alberta's first satellite have been honoured with a prestigious award from the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership (ASTech) Foundation.

The AlbertaSat student team was presented with the ASTech Special Award for Group Innovation Under 30.

The team recently packed its first satellite, the Ex-Alta 1, and shipped it off to the Netherlands, where it will be packed up with 40 other cube satellites built as part of the international QB-50 mission and sent to the International Space Station The launch date is set for Feb. 17, 2017.

From the ISS, Ex-Alta 1 will be released into orbit around the Earth in order to collect data on the thermosphere, space weather and the earth's magnetic field.

"This is the first time ASTech has presented this award," says AlbertaSat faculty sponsor and mechanical engineering professor, Carlos Lange. "There was nothing before this that would recognize the kind of amazing work AlbertaSat has been doing."

Members of AlbertaSat hope that their work is just the beginning for a large and vibrant aerospace industry in Alberta.

The club is helping establish that industry. Several members have created their own company, Promethean Labs, an entrepreneurial venture to build cube-satellites. Their hope is that AlbertaSat graduates can stay and work in the province and add diversity to the economy.

The ASTech award recognizes not only AlbertaSat's work and technical achievements but also their contribution to the province.