Image of Charles Nokes: Facebook
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With an explosion of rocket fuel and trail of smoke, a tiny satellite, the size of a bread box, launched from NASA's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 11 a.m. Tuesday, initiating Alberta into the space industry, media reports said.
The tiny satellite, named The Ex-Alta 1, the satellite made by a team of 40 University of Alberta (U of A) students will soon orbit Earth at an altitude of 400 kilometres..
The Ex-Alta 1 is one among dozens of other little satellites from other teams that are part of the QB50 research mission. University students from 28 countries had built fifty cube satellites, which were implemented Tuesday.
A post by Grejeen News Canada on the facebook account of Charles Nokes reads, “Some students from the University of Alberta are in emotional orbit …Charles Nokes, a space physics student, cried and then high-fived colleagues in elation Tuesday as the Atlas V blasted off into a bright blue sky from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “You see the rocket engines and the fire coming out and you feel the rumble,” he said from a vantage point only a few kilometres from the launch pad.”
The spacecraft, designed by a team of students and faculty members at the U of A over the past four years, will record space weather data.
Nokes said the satellite will help the team study powerful forces, such as solar flares, which are a threat to spacecraft, satellites, and essential electronic networks on Earth.
Measurements will be transmitted on ground station the rooftop located at the U of A, and operated by the AlbertaSat team and shared with other research hubs all over the universe.
The satellite will deliver several tons of cargo including crew supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station.
The unique feature of these types of satellites is that these will remain in orbit for up to two years, but it will reportedly perish in the end due to harsh conditions.
"That's what's really unique and awesome about this new form of spacecraft, these cube satellites, they're very small and a lot cheaper and a lot faster to build and launch into space," said Nokes.
"You can put them in regions of space where you wouldn't launch larger and more expensive satellites because it makes no sense, economically to put a $500 million satellite into lower orbit to have burn up a few months later," said Nokes, CBCNews reports said.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)