Hanlon Centre supports UofS Space Development team
Release Date : April 30, 2012
After three grueling hours presenting its plan to a panel of aerospace experts in Ottawa, the University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team (USST) will begin building its cubesat - a 10 by 10 by 30-centimetre satellite that's minuscule compared to many of the multimillion-dollar monsters currently orbiting Earth.
After years of dominating international space elevator design competitions, the USST has set its sights on the first Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC) - a two-year competition where teams of university students design and build a nanosatellite. The winner, or winners, will hitch a free ride into space to gather experimental data in orbit. Team president Aarya Shahsavar said the University of Saskatchewan's satellite earned the third-best marks in last month's critical design review.
"Our team went from having no prior satellite design experience, and in the period of a year, taught ourselves," Shahsavar said. " ... We showed them what our potential is and we feel that, moving forward, we can do even more to improve on that." With their satellite, the USST intends to measure the density of plasma (a boiling soup of charged gas particles) in Earth's ionosphere. While in Ottawa, two USST members also took part in a satellite solar panel workshop. While the technical gurus of the team will begin ordering and assembling components, the USST is now focusing on fundraising more than $300,000 to pay for parts, travel, lab space and equipment. Shahsavar said members plan to travel to different labs to put their satellite through testing in extreme conditions so they're prepared for a spaceworthiness evaluation in Ottawa come September.
The Hanlon Centre for International Business Studies was a silver sponsor for the University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team (USST), providing $5000 toward their goal of building Saskatchewan’s first nanosatellite. “This was our first ‘intergalactic’ sponsorship in nature”, joked Nick Kokkastamapoulos (Hanlon Center Director), mentioning the Hanlon Centre’s Director has supported past students in many international business education and experiential learning endeavors but nothing to do with space. “The nature of this space project”, he added, “and how the students will find themselves engaged in making global connections and funds sourcing from several international corporations to make it work, and even traveling abroad to finally launch their satellite if successfully chosen, all falls within our mandate. As such, this team is in every way ‘international’ and deserves our support”.
Kokkastamapoulos also came on board to support the team as an "international sales coach" to mentor how raise the additional funds needed for the build. Mason Stott, one of the USST Student Team, noted “Nick started off by helping the team decide the best way to produce sponsorship materials along the lines of an international sales and networking approach. Next, he mentored me on how to approach organizations – local and abroad - through various mediums for sponsorship and how to conduct a meeting and pitch from the moment you walk in to the room to the moment you leave”. “I also” he added, “learned the proper ways of warm-calling, and how to ‘get your foot in the door’ without turning the potential sponsor away. Nick was always willing to meet with anyone from the USST, and consistently wants us to succeed in our endeavors.”
Four of the 50 USST members presented the plan for their 10x10x30cm satellite at the Critical Design Review in Ottawa. “We ended up finishing third out of nine Canadian universities,” says USST’s Financial Director Mason Stott. “Major changes needed to be made to the gravity boom, but other than that only slight modifications were required. The team was ready for construction May 1st.” The USST is now focusing on raising the additional $20,000 required and ordering the necessary parts. Construction is set to begin in early July and will continue through the summer. At the end of September, the team will return to Ottawa to present their satellite to a panel of judges. We will find out if Saskatchewan will have its first nanosatellite in orbit.