Lacombe resident hopes to launch satellite by 2016

As the pile of money grows higher, so does a former Lacombe resident’s hopes of sending a satellite into space. Charles Nokes, who graduated from Lacombe Composite High School in 2011, is one of the team members working feverishly towards getting Alberta’s first satellite into orbit in January 2016. The goal is to study the effects of solar flares on the Earth’s magnetic field.

As the pile of money grows higher, so does a former Lacombe resident’s hopes of sending a satellite into space.

Charles Nokes, who graduated from Lacombe Composite High School in 2011, is one of the team members working feverishly towards getting Alberta’s first satellite into orbit in January 2016. The goal is to study the effects of solar flares on the Earth’s magnetic field.

The engineering physics student, entering his fourth year at the University of Alberta, is seeing the project get incrementally closer to fruition with the infusion of more and more funds.

Through government grants and a crowdfunding campaign, his group has raised $48,000 of the $60,000 needed to launch the satellite and about $70,000 of the $100,000 to $120,000 estimated cost of building it.

“We’re still looking at larger funding sources,” said Nokes.

But the hefty amounts raised so far have buoyed his hopes that province’s first satellite will be ready to go into orbit when a rocket is launched from Brazil, carrying 50 such small satellites some 350 km above the Earth.

He hopes to have it ready for testing in the Netherlands next year.

Nokes, who aims to work with the Canadian Space Agency or even NASA one day, is beyond excited to be already working in the aerospace field.

The student is helping with design aspects of the satellite that will be equipped with cameras, as well as a probe to measure changes in charged particle densities, and a digital sensor to pick up fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field.

He will also be studying the data collected, along with other students and academic advisors. The wide-ranging project involves participation from the university’s science, business, arts and computer science departments.

Nokes said the small size of the planned satellite will enable it to stay in space longer before being dragged down by the Earth’s gravitational pull.

Most other ones are much larger, so are not able to stay in the lower-altitude orbit that’s needed for gathering data on the affects of solar flares. “There aren’t any satellites to gather that kind of information,” said Nokes.

And the information collected will be very useful, as solar storms occasionally wreak havoc on the Earth.

In 1859, a solar storm called the Carrington Event caused some telegraph lines to spark, shocking some operators. Studies indicate a solar storm of this magnitude would cause widespread problems for today’s civilization.

A smaller solar storm in 1989 knocked Hydro-Quebec’s electrical grid offline for nine hours.

Nokes said Alberta’s satellite is expected to have a lifespan of two to five months before burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere when it drops to 90 km from the planet’s surface. “It’s not going to be space junk. It will work until everything is burned.”

Anyone interested in donating to the project can visit www.albertasat.ca/donate.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

63 per cent said equality between men and women has not been achieved

FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters run as one of them discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of tear gas fired by riot policemen in Yangon, Myanmar. The escalation of violence in Myanmar as authorities crack down on protests against the Feb. 1 coup is adding to pressure for more sanctions against the junta, as countries struggle over how to best confront military leaders inured to global condemnation. (AP Photo/File)
Escalating violence raises pressure for Myanmar sanctions

More shootings were reported over the weekend

A moth-killing drone hovers over crops in a green house in Monster, Netherlands, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. A Dutch startup is using drones to kill moths in midair as a way of protecting valuable crops in greenhouses that are damaged by caterpillars. PATS Indoor Drone Solutions emerged from the work of a group of students looking for ways to kill mosquitos in their dorm rooms. The drones themselves are very basic, but they are steered by smart technology and special cameras that scan the airspace in greenhouses. When the cameras detect a moth, a drone is set on a collision course with the bug, destroying the bug with its rotors. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)
Drones vs hungry moths: Dutch use hi-tech to protect crops

Drones instantly kill the moths by flying into them

Health-care worker Jenne Saunders prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province on March 1, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada set to receive more than 910,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week

Federal government looks for vaccine-makers to finalize delivery of eight million doses by March 31

Statistics Canada’s offices at Tunny’s Pasture in Ottawa are shown on Friday, March 8, 2019. Newly released documents show Statistics Canada considered delaying this year’s census until 2022 over pandemic-related concerns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Statistics Canada considered delaying this year’s census to 2022 due to pandemic

A census takes seven years between the start of planning to the release of data

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

Hamilton Forge FC’s Giuliano Frano (8) heads the ball against CD Olimpia’s Jorge Benguche (9) during Scotiabank CONCACAF League 2019 second half soccer action in Hamilton, Ont., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. Forge FC owner Bob Young says the Canadian Premier League champions will be playing the Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC at a disadvantage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Forge FC owner upset at Canada Soccer’s timing of Canadian Championship final

Winner of Canadian Championship final earns a berth in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League

Team Wild Card Two skip Kevin Koe reacts to his shot as he plays Team Newfoundland and Labrador at the Brier in Calgary, Alta., on March 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Wild Card Two’s Koe beats Gushue 9-7 to hand defending champs first loss at the Brier

Gushue was a tad heavy with his final draw and Koe picked it out for the victory

(Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No regrets: Grammy-nominated DJ Jayda G on choosing beats over sciences career

TORONTO — House music producer Jayda G knows a thing or two… Continue reading

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, speaking about expecting their second child during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. “Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” airs March 7 as a two-hour exclusive primetime special on the CBS Television Network. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
UK royals absorb shock of revealing Harry, Meghan interview

Anti-monarchy group Republic said the interview gave a clearer picture of what the royal family is like

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa on December 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives to call top Sajjan, Trudeau aides to testify on Vance allegations

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives plan to summon two senior Liberal aides… Continue reading

Elvira D'Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada’s… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Most Read