U of C-made Cassiope satellite launches into orbit

A new satellite that was successfully launched into orbit today prominently features technology developed by the University of Calgary.

Initial launch was delayed earlier this month after tests showed problems

The launch of a satellite that the University of Calgary helped build has been delayed. (CBC)

A new satellite that was successfully launched into orbit today prominently features technology developed by the University of Calgary. 

Cassiope, the CAscade SmallSat and IOnospheric Polar Explorer, will be responsible for gathering data to help researchers better understand space storms and their effects on space-based technologies.

Researchers had planned to launch the satellite earlier in September but tests showed it wasn't quite ready.

"This is both exciting and a huge relief to see Cassiope launched after over nine years of preparation and development," said Greg Enno, technical manager for the project which is run with the physics department at the University of Calgary.

"The team has been waiting for this moment for a long time and is eager to get to dig into the data."

The satellite's mission was developed by the Canadian Space Agency together with several research institutions and 10 Canadian universities. 

Payload developed by Canadian universities

Led by the University of Calgary, the involved universities provided the scientific payload that will collect new data on space storms.

Researchers are hoping to get a better understanding of how space storms in the upper atmosphere impact radio communications, GPS navigation and other technologies. 

Storms of solar particles and intense sub-storms of radiation can interfere with radio communications, disrupt electrical power grids and distort GPS systems that guide aircraft.

"By flying our instruments into the eye of the space storms, so to speak, we will be able to make measurements at rather unprecedented resolution and get a much sharper and much more in-depth pictures of their effects on the upper atmosphere," said Andrew Yau, mission scientist and project leader. 

"The long-term goal of the research is to advance our capability to forecast space weather and mitigate its impact on daily life and on society, the way we are forecasting terrestrial weather today."


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