THE CANADIAN SATELLITE DESIGN CHALLENGE
The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC) began its inaugural offering in January, 2011. It is a competition for teams of university students (both undergraduate and graduate) to design and build a “Cubesat” – a small, fully-operational satellite – which will conduct a science mission.
Unlike many university competitions which are focused on only one department, successful teams in the CSDC are comprised of students from many disciplines – not just from Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, and Computer), but Science (Computer Science, and the department of any science instruments which are flown), and usually benefit by having students from Management, Commerce, or Education departments.
The CSDC is modelled after a number of existing university-level engineering competitions, such as those offered by the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE); however, there are a number of additional objectives and benefits which have been incorporated, in order to enhance the educational experience:
The CSDC gives participating students a simulated experience of proposing, managing and working on a real space mission project under realistic conditions. The CSDC Management Society acts like a space mission Customer, akin to a national space agency (like the CSA or NASA). Each team acts like a Prime Contractor, and is responsible for managing and implementing their mission. With project structure such as a Critical Design Review and required deliverable documents, the CSDC provides a foundation in project management which is rarely encountered in the university curriculum.
- The CSDC includes a number of workshops which expose the students to supervised “hands-on” experience in spacecraft assembly techniques and processes, the Quality Assurance process, mission and spacecraft analysis using leading-edge commercial software packages, and experience working in spacecraft environmental testing facilities. The workshops have been held at facilities of leading Canadian space companies, such as MDA, Neptec, Magellan Aerospace, and at the Canadian Space Agency’s David Florida Laboratory spacecraft testing facility.
- Each team is required to give a comprehensive 2½-hour Critical Design Review (CDR) presentation in front of a panel of experienced space industry professionals, who critique the teams’ designs.
- The CSDC also includes a mandatory Educational Outreach component, requiring teams to give presentations to a variety of audiences, including elementary and secondary school students. This is intended to help inspire younger students to consider pursuing university educations and careers in science or engineering.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The CSDC is managed by the CSDC Management Society Inc. (CSDCMS), a registered not-for-profit organisation in Canada, and is entirely volunteer-run.
Senior Member, Engineering Group, UrtheCast Corporation
Vice-President, Strategic Enterprises, Mitacs Inc.
Communications Manager, MDA Corporation.
Professor, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, UBC
Vice President of Special Projects for an environmental technology company
Partner, Pryke Lambert Leathley Russel, LLP
Senior Systems Engineer, UrtheCast Corporation
Consultant, AppSpace Solutions Ltd.
Educator, H.R. MacMillan Pacific Space Centre
The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge Management Society Inc. (CSDCMS) is a federally-incorporated not-for-profit organisation (#783826-3), and is co-registered in British Columbia (#XS-0058874). Its head office is in Vancouver, B.C.
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