University of Victoria to establish satellite ground station with Canadian Satellite Design Challenge prize

Victoria, BC – The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Management Society (CSDCMS) recently presented a ceremonial cheque to the University of Victoria’s Satellite Design Club, ECOSat. The approximately $11,500 cheque was a prize for winning the second bi-annual Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC).

The CSDC is a Canada-wide competition for teams of university students to design, build, and test a small operational science satellite called a “cubesat”, which measures 10 x 10 x 34 cm (about the size of a loaf of bread) and weighs less than 4 kg.

The prize to the UVic ECOSat team will help them acquire the necessary hardware to establish a ground station for communicating with orbiting university and amateur satellites. The ultimate goal of the CSDC is to eventually launch winning satellites into orbit to conduct their science missions.

The UVic team, made up of graduate and undergraduate students, designed their satellite with an experiment to investigate a material called pyrolytic graphite, a diamagnetic material which is repelled from both north and south magnetic fields. By heating the material it’s possible to create an unbalanced magnetic force that can be affected by the Earth’s magnetic field. The experiment will determine if this effect can be used to control the orientation of the satellite while in orbit.

Presenting the cheque was Duncan Phillips, Vice-President of Strategic Enterprise for Mitacs as well as the Vice-President of CSDCMS, a not-for-profit organization which manages the competition. “Mitacs offers its warmest congratulations to UVic’s team on their winning design. Through the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge, university students have had the opportunity to work on projects that grow the space industry while contributing to Canada’s knowledge-based economy” said Phillips.

Cass Hussman, a PhD student and Chief Engineer for the ECOSat team, said “The ECOSat team is very excited about the awarded sponsorship for the ground station construction as part of winning the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge. We have spent countless hours over the last few years working on this project, and it’s an important milestone for us. With construction underway, we look forward to making contacts with amateur radio satellites, the international space station, and eventually ECOSat-II on orbit.”

The CSDC is supported by Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting innovation through collaborative and international research and training programs, and is funded by The Boeing Company.


For more information about the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Management Society, visit

To learn about Mitacs and its programs, go to