A U of S engineering student who got his start in Watson is about to experience the space age opportunity of a lifetime. Dylan Haussecker is part of a design team that’s created what they believe is Saskatchewan’s first ground up high orbit satellite. The project is headed skyward to the International Space Station via SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch is scheduled in June.
Haussecker graduated from Watson School and spent his first year of engineering study at St. Peter’s College. Following that, it was off to the main campus in Saskatoon as Haussecker pursues a dual degree in engineering and computer science. During his studies, he became involved in the Space Team through the College which had begun the process of developing an orbital satellite with some unique instrumentation on board.
Haussecker explains that the RADSAT-SK project is a joint venture between the Canadian Space Agency, University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team, USask College of Engineering, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Industry Partners are Galaxia Mission Systems and Calian Advanced Technologies. Haussecker says the project wouldn’t have been possible without the participation of principal investigators Dr. Sean Maw and Dr. Brian Berscheid.
“We basically designed a cube satellite that’s going to be launching on June 3 all the way to the ISS,” explains Haussecker. “It’ll then orbit Earth for about a year. We’re happy to say that, from what we know in our research, this is the first satellite that has been designed and assembled in Saskatchewan to be launched into space. ”
The space station has a cube satellite deployer that will set the object in a regular orbit.
It was in 2018 that Haussecker first joined the project through the Space Team. He’s undertaken multiple roles with the build including project manager for two years and aiding in software and electrical development for the unit.
“Basically, our satellite has payloads on it, designed by some professors in our college, Dr. Li Chen and Dr. Ekaterina Dadachova. There is an experimental dosimeter aboard that’s going to measure radiation in space. We also have a melanin coating on there, and we’re going to test that as a radiation shield. There are a lot of applications that can come from the technology we are putting on the satellite.”
The team is developing its own ground station at the University of Saskatchewan campus to receive the relayed information from the satellite. The satellite itself has no onboard propulsion, so at the end of the year mission, the orbit will decay and the satellite will burn up harmlessly in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Haussecker and the team are grateful for the support of their industry sponsors and the principal investigators who worked to realize the project.
With his degree study time drawing to a close, Haussecker says he’d like to continue his work in space study and find further engineering applications. He’s pleased to have had the opportunities that have taken his work this far.
“This is a very important moment for Saskatchewan. We’re developing a satellite that’s going to test a lot of cool technology. Hundreds of undergraduate students have worked on this over the past five to six years. We’re very happy to see this going into space.”