The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge
The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge is a Canada-wide competition for teams of university students to design and build a small operational science research satellite known as a "3U- cubesat" or "triple-cubesat". These satellites measure 34cm x 10cm x 10cm, and have a maximum mass of 4kg. The satellites will undergo full launch and space environment qualification, with the goal of launching the winning satellite into orbit to conduct scientific research.
Beyond the primary goal of designing and building the cubesat, the CSDC has objectives to enhance space-related knowledge and capacity at Canadian universities; increase academia-industry co-operation in space-related research and development, and to expose participants to the management processes of a large engineering project.
The CSDC also has an educational outreach component, requiring teams to give numerous presentations to schools and the public. These are intended to raise awareness and understanding of space activities, as well as to inspire younger students to pursue higher education or careers in science and engineering fields.
The first CSDC began in January, 2011, and completed on September 29, 2012 (the 50th anniversary of the launch of Alouette-I, Canada's first satellite). It was won by the team from Concordia University in Montréal. Currently, the Concordia team is waiting to hear if they will be selected to participate in the European Space Agency's "Fly Your Satellite" programme, which could culminate in a launch for the satellite.
The second CSDC began in October, 2012, just after the completion of the first CSDC. Ten teams from across Canada are competing, and in a the team from the École Polytechnique de Montréal has partnered together with students from the University of Bologna, in Italy. We certainly hope that this international collaboration will benefit both universities, and will lead to further international participation in the CSDC.