By Chuck Black
The Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) has honoured the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) for their highly successful Canadian Advanced Nanospace eXperiment (CanX) nanosatellite precision formation flying mission.
|CanX-4 and CanX-5 at the UTIAS SFL just before being transfered to Sriharikota, India for launch onboard the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) PSLV C23 launch vehicle on June 30th, 2014. As outlined in the July 30th, 2014 UTUAS SFL press release, "CanX-4 & CanX-5 Formation Flying Mission, One Month in Space," the satellites were commissioned quickly after launch and were designed to demonstrate low cost, low mass orbital positioning technologies with.practical application related to sparse aperture sensing, ground target tracking, precise geolocation and on-orbit satellite servicing. Photo c/o UTIAS SFL.|
In November 2014, the CanX-4 and CanX-5 dual formation flying mission accomplished a series of automous orbital formations with sub metre control and centimetre level relative position knowlege which allowed the two micrsats to dance around each other in an orbital ballet of unparalleled complexity for a smallsat.
CASI president Dr. Jacques Giroux presented each of the six named mambers of the UTIAS SFL team with the 2018 Alouette Award for outstanding contribution to advancement in Canadian space technology during the gala dinner of the biannual CASI ASTRO'18 conference, held this year in Quebec City, PQ from May 15th - 17th.
The CanX-4/CanX-5 team included:
- Dr. Jean-Claude Piedboeuf, the director general, space science and technology at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
- Dr. Brad Wallace of Defence R&D Canada
- Dr. Cameron Ower, the director of engineering and chief technology officer, robotics and automation at Brampton ON based MDA.
- Doug Sinclair the owner of Sinclair Interplanetary, a supplier of hardware, software, training and expertise to the spacecraft community.
- Dr. Robert E. Zee, the director of the UTIAS SFL.
Mission contributions also included control algorithms from Prof. Christopher J. Damaren of UTIAS and navigation algorithms from Profs Susan Skone and Elizabeth Cannon of the University of Calgary.