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UNB's CubeSat VIOLET will take a ride to space with SpaceX

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Mar 19, 2024

Category: Press Releases

CubeSat Violet

Thursday evening will see a piece of New Brunswick reaching new heights as the University of New Brunswick's (UNB) CubeSat NB VIOLET, will hitch a ride to the International Space Station (ISS) on a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket on March 21.

VIOLET will join satellites from Newfoundland’s Memorial University and the University of Sherbrooke for its trip to space. As part of the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA) CubeSat Project, these milk-carton-sized pieces of technology can be used to test instruments, conduct experiments or support commercial or educational endeavours in space.

Expected to be deployed from the ISS in early May, all three satellites will enter orbit around Earth and transmit data back to ground stations using radio signals. VIOLET's mission is to collect information about the sunspot cycle and its effects on Earth's upper atmosphere, thanks to its solar panels.

“We thank the hundreds of New Brunswick students whose efforts have successfully propelled VIOLET into space,” says Brent Petersen, professor of electrical and computer engineering, co-principal investigator of the CubeSat VIOLET Project.

“It will be one of the first satellites of its kind to study space weather at the altitude of the International Space Station,” adds Petersen. “VIOLET will burn up in orbit in a few months, but its scientific data would be valuable forever.”

UNB’s satellite was designed, built and tested over the past five years by almost 300 students from UNB, Université de Moncton and the New Brunswick Community College.

The CubeSat Project, led by the Canadian Space Agency, aims to advance space technology through the deployment of compact satellites, like VIOLET, for scientific and educational purposes. This initiative highlights Canada's role in the international space community and its dedication to space exploration.

Watch the launch on NASA+.

Learn more about VIOLET.

Media contact: Kathleen McLaughlin, Media Relations Strategist, talktous@unb.ca.