Is the University of Manitoba the Next Small Satellite Innovation Hub?

From left to right: Dr. Philip Ferguson and his graduate students Valorie Platero and Matthew Driedger, and Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Dr. Jenni Sidey after announcing the Canadian CubeSat Project teams. Credit: University of Manitoba/Canadian Space Agency.

Last year the University of Manitoba made the decision to bring in industry veteran Philip Ferguson to help the university expand its research efforts with respect to small satellites.

It was a confluence of good timing that Ferguson was interested, had previously lived in Winnipeg and loved Manitoba and the university had a vacant research chair available.

Ferguson hadn’t planned on going into academia, but after working in industry he came to realize he really loved coming up with innovative solutions and that perhaps the academic setting with, with ties to industry might be the best way forward.

Ferguson is now an Associate Professor in his first year at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at the University of Manitoba. Ferguson was also was recently named as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Magellan Aerospace Industrial Research Chair in Satellite Engineering at the university. That was the vacant chair he stepped into. As he says, positions like this, as in the availability and going to someone new to academia, is not the norm, but with his experience and past connections with Magellan, it all worked out.

As you’ll hear, Ferguson has had a pretty eventful career working in industry before settling in at the University of Manitoba. He received his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at MIT and has worked on the International Space Station’s Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator program, commonly referred to as Dextre, Canada’s first microsatellite, MOST, NEOSSat, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission and drones.

Along the way he’s worked at MDA, Dynacon, Microsat Systems Canada Inc., Magellan Aerospace and PrecisionHawk.

Listen to the podcast to learn more about Ferguson’s work in the small satellite sector and his plans to help make the University of Manitoba a small satellite innovation hub.


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About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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