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NWT students to aid out-of-this-world project


Students in the Northwest Territories will soon be engaging in an out-of-this-world learning experience in the rapidly evolving nanosatellite market, helping to design, construct and test a satellite payload, thanks to funding from the Canadian Space Agency’s Canadian CubeSat Project.

Aurora Research Institute (ARI) and Aurora College will receive $250,000 over four years to work with high school students, Aurora College students and youth to develop the hardware, software and content for the outreach component of the satellites. Students will be able to collaborate with others across the territory, building a support network for young people with an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and space science especially.

ARI and Aurora College are joining 15 other colleges and universities from across Canada in designing and building 15 CubeSat satellites that will be deployed from the International Space Station. ARI is further partnering with Yukon College and the University of Alberta to build the core satellite platform. The three satellites will work in a constellation to complete a space weather monitoring mission proposed by the University of Alberta, as well as their own individual missions. During development, the missions are designed to engage youth in the design, hardware engineering, and programming of an outreach payload intended to accomplish specific mission goals. Once the satellites are operational, youth will be involved with the collection and sharing of stories, art and games with participants from around the world.

The ARI satellite’s three outreach missions will support student-led Indigenous language and culture revitalization programs and address the need to promote increased and active speaking of Indigenous languages as outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The three outreach missions include:

  • Northern Images: Participants will develop a platform for art to be displayed in front of a camera on the CubeSat with the earth as a backdrop;
  • Northern Voices: Northern stories about space and sky – in Indigenous languages — will be shared by participants and uploaded to the satellite to be transmitted to amateur radios across the country;
  • Northern Games: Participants will create a globally interactive game for amateur radio operators to participate in. Special recordings played only in certain geographic zones will require global cooperation to decode the entire message. Northern Indigenous histories and languages will be the subject of messages and content.

For updates on the progress of the project or information about how to become involved, contact Aurora Research Institute at www.nwtresearch.com or check out the ARI Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Aurora-Research-Institute-124567754290093/.