Monday, September 12, 2011

Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Moving Forward

It's fall, school is back in session and the twelve teams participating in the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC) will soon begin preparations for their preliminary design review.

CSDC poster.
Twelve teams from the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbiathe University of Alberta in Edmonton, the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg,  York University in Toronto, the University of Waterloo, Carleton University in Ottawa, Queen's University in Kingston, the Royal Military College of Canada, Concordia University in Montreal and Dalhousie University in Halifax are competing for the opportunity to design, build and orbit a low-cost operational small satellite, using commercially-available and "off-the-shelf" components.

Competing teams will have their completed satellites undergo full launch and space environment qualification with the ultimate goal of launching the winning satellite into orbit to conduct science research.

But while the winner will be announced in October 2012, the current key deliverable is that preliminary review.

According to a September 7th, 2011 press release titled "CSDC Teams Prepare for Preliminary Design Reviews" the review has the following components:
The teams begin with a statement of the science mission their satellite with conduct, then outline the design of their satellite and demonstrate how it will achieve their mission’s goals, as well as the other technical requirements of the competition.  The designs will be reviewed by a team of experienced space mission professionals from across Canada. The review comments will be returned to the teams to help them refine the design and perform further analyses.
The overall objectives of the program include fostering innovation in satellite technologies, encouraging inexpensive access to space and creating a bridge between students and Canadian space industry for future collaboration and employment opportunities.
The CSDC estimate schedule of milestones and activities.
Contest sponsors include a cross section of Canadian space focused firms including MITACS, MacDonald Dettwiller (MDA,) Microsat Systems Canada, Neptec Design Group, ABB Canada, Magellan Aerospace, AppSpace Solutions, Analytical Graphics, Manitoba Aerospace, NEI Software, the Canadian Space Society and quite a few others.

Analytical Graphics has also offered its Satellite Toolkit (STK) software package for satellite mission modelling, analysis, and visualisation software for use in the competition and software developer Solidworks Corporation has provided SolidWorks 3D design, simulation, and engineering analysis software to the competing teams.

Others have also come forward with assistance, including NEi Software (which offered up copies of NE NASTRAN advanced finite element Analysis software for competing teams) and Maya Heat Transfer Technologies (which provided copies of the FEMAP & FEMAP-TMG heat transfer simulation and analysis software).

No doubt other companies will also come forward as the competition moves into the final phase in 2012.

As originally discussed in my September 26th, 2010 post "Canadian Companies Sponsor Satellite Designers" the CSDC was originally developed by Richmond, BC based Geocentrix Technologies Ltd  in partnership with the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI).

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