The student-run organization is racing to make it into space
Space Concordia is a student-run organization aiming to foster a professional learning environment in which students can develop their skills via experiential learning.
The association is composed of four official divisions: Spacecraft, Rocketry, Robotics, and Space Health, each one with teams that work year-round to develop projects and research.
“We are a big organization, so each member can decide to join the teams that suit their interest[s] and [schooling],” said Vanesa Gonzales, who is in charge of outreach. “Most of the time a new member joins one team under one division. Then, as they understand the project, they can take on more than one role.”
The organization involves interdisciplinary work that is open to students of all academic backgrounds.
But Space Concordia hasn’t made it into space … yet.
“The Rocketry division is working on a rocket that reaches the limitation of the upper atmosphere and space at 420,000 feet. It is going to be tested in May 2021,” said Gonzales.
The rocket they are developing is part of the Base 11 Space Challenge, a contest to be the first student-run group to hit the Kármán Line. The Kármán Line is situated at an altitude of 100 km and defines the boundary between space and Earth.
“Hopefully by May 2021, we will be the first university to make it into space,” said Melize Ferrus, President of Space Concordia.
Until they make it to the final frontier, what’s next for Space Concordia?
“The Robotics division is working on implementing an autonomy software system in their rover,” said Ferrus.
The software would enable the rover to test samples of matter via spectroscopy, which is used to study the molecular composition of a sample. In this case, the sample would be soil, allowing for them to see if it is feasible to sustain life on other planets.
“We would like to continue developing technologies for remote medicine that can be applied on Earth or [in] space,” said Gonzales.
The Space Health division will continue to do so via Project 1.0, which involves researching the body’s response to force changes by studying the effects of gravity on the heart long-term. The project will be tested on a rocket made by the Rocketry division.
Project 2.0 is to develop a simulated cardiovascular system to study Orthostatic Hypertension, a medical condition characterized by a sudden increase in blood pressure when a person stands up.
But don’t let the words ‘space’ and ‘engineering’ turn you away from Space Concordia. According to Ferrus, not all members are in exclusively STEM fields. Past and current team members have been students enrolled in Communications, the Faculty of Fine Arts, and the John Molson School of Business.
“We want to be an organization that fosters creativity in any way, and creativity rears its head in many different facets,” said Ferrus. “It doesn’t matter what your skill level is. By the time you leave, it won’t be your skill level anymore. We’re happy to foster new talent.”
For more information about Space Concordia visit http://www.spaceconcordia.ca.
Visuals courtesy of Space Concordia.