Concordia’s victorious astronautical association, Space Concordia, returned to defend the title they won last year as the second biennial Canadian Satellite Design Challenge kicked off on Sept. 23.
The new team came ready for the intense competition brought by universities from all across Canada. Student representatives from all over the country came to the Montreal-based satellite communications company, MDA, to kick off the this year’s competition; with their first assigned task of assembling a small solar panel in their top-of-the-line spacecraft facilities. Concordia’s win last year is causing other universities to feel intimidated, raising the already fierce competition. “I could feel the heat coming from other students and the tension building up while we toured the facility. They know what we are capable of, and they can tell that its not going to be easy to shake us off, thus they kept on trying to demotivate us by commenting on our work and searching for mistakes in our boards while hammering us with questions regarding our designs of the satellite,” said Rami Kandela, a Concordia student participating in the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge.
To prepare, students were given an introduction to spacecraft assembly in addition to guidance and information on integration practices from industry professionals. “Even though it was just 2 days, being around a set of highly skilled and experienced engineers was absolutely amazing. They have so much knowledge with the spacecraft industry and they could answer any question we threw at them regarding design challenges we are facing. We got to learn a lot of technical skills and develop an even stronger interest in the space industry,” said Kandela.
The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge is a nationwide Canadian competition for teams of university students interested in designing and building an operational satellite. The small satellites are called “triple-cubesat” or “3U-cubesat”, weighing no more than 4 kilograms and measuring 34 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm. Every group’s satellite will undergo a full launch, but only the winning group’s satellite will launch into orbit with the intention of conducting real scientific research.
The program also focuses on enhancing space-related knowledge throughout Canadian universities, and gives students the opportunity to have more access to the space research and development industry and a chance to be exposed to the management processes of large-scale engineering projects.
The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge also requires participants to take part in an educational outreach program where teams give presentations with the aim of raising awareness amongst the general public and inspiring younger students with the possibilities of a career in the fields of science and engineering.