At AlbertaSat ground control Collin Cupido and Charles Noke ping the CubeSat
At AlbertaSat ground control Collin Cupido and Charles Noke ping the CubeSat. Credit: Tyler Hrynyk/AlbertaSat.

Alberta’s First Satellite Deployed from the International Space Station and Systems Startup Successful

Alberta’s first satellite Ex-Alta 1 was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 18 on a cargo resupply spacecraft and on May 26 it was successfully deployed from the ISS.

The AlbertaSat team who developed the small CubeSat then reported; “a few hours later, as Ex-Alta 1 passed over South Korea and Japan, radio operators there recorded the first few beacons from Ex-Alta 1!  This signalled the successful startup of the satellite, successful deployment of the antennas, and successful startup of the spacecraft subsystems!”

It’s been a seven year journey for the more than 50 undergraduate and graduate students, along with faculty members at the University of Alberta to develop, launch and deploy their CubeSat. Now the team will focus on the science mission.

Video of the deployment from the ISS.

The Ex-Alta 1 satellite payloads consist of a Langmuir probe which is onboard all the QB50 satellites along with a digital fluxgate magnetometer (FGM) developed by AlbertaSat.

According to Wikipedia a “Langmuir probe is a device used to determine the electron temperature, electron density, and electric potential of a plasma. It works by inserting one or more electrodes into a plasma, with a constant or time-varying electric potential between the various electrodes or between them and the surrounding vessel.”

The digital fluxgate magnetometer (FGM) payload will be used for high frequency measurements of the Earth’s magnetosphere. According to AlbertaSat their digital FGM’s size and measurement range allows their CubeSat “to preform scientific measurements of the Earth’s magnetic fields that would normally require an induction coil magnetometer. The reduction in mass and power required for function on a cube satellite like Ex-Alta 1 is attractive to the design and operation of future small satellite missions to study the Earth’s magnetosphere and possibly planets beyond our own.”

About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceRef Canada Interactive Inc, CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef U.S., advisor and co-founder of the Canadian Space Commerce Association, and director and co-founder of MaxQ Accelerator Inc. Previously he was the founder of Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine which he sold.

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