Potatoes. A stereotype. A major part of our economy. But most importantly, one of our favourite foods! Also important, the inspiration for our satellites name: SpudNik-1
Here on PEI, we are always striving to improve the overall efficiency and sustainability of our agriculture sector. In fact, The UPEI Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering (FSDE) has a rapidly growing agricultural engineering group who are doing cutting edge research right here on PEI! Our brand new building also houses a large body of mechatronics-enthusiasts, both faculty and students! It was certainly a stroke of luck when we were accepted to participate in the Canadian CubeSat Project (CCP).
The CCP is the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) endeavour to stimulate student interest in the aerospace industry by having them Design, Build, Launch, and Monitor their very own CubeSat satellite. The rapid developments of the space sector warrants an increase in the demand for aerospace engineers, and related fields. There are numerous challenges associated with these types of projects, as there is little room for mistakes. However, the ultimate reward awaits once the satellite is launched! But you must be wondering… what the heck is a CubeSat???
A CubeSat is a rectangular prism (not always a Cube!) measuring 10cmx10cmxU, where ‘U’ can be 10cm, 20cm etc. They are classified as nanosatellites due to their small size. What makes them particularly appealing is their low cost, relatively ease to manufacture/design, and the increasing market for Commercial Of The Shelf products (COTS) which are standardized to integrate with most CubeSats. Due to their simple shapes, several CubeSats can be fit into launcher tubes and blasted directly to the International Space Station!