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.
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.”
— AlbertaSat (@AlbertaSat) May 28, 2017
— The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) May 29, 2017