Canadian Space Agency funds U of C space balloons

By Chris Adams

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) recently invested $250,000 in a University of Calgary-led mission to study “space-weather” using balloons. Christopher Cully, associate professor in the department of physics and astronomy at the U of C, will lead the mission.

By studying the affect radiated particles in the upper-atmosphere have on satellites, Cully hopes his team will learn how to predict “space-weather” and better understand the space satellites travel through. These particles can affect communications and damage the satellites.

The University of Washington will provide an X-ray detector to be attached to the balloons. A radio receiver developed at the U of C will also be attached to the balloon. Cully hopes the receiver will one day be used in missions beyond the atmosphere.

While the mission is U of C led, the balloons will launch north of Saskatoon.

Cully said the CSA is right to come to the U of C with this funding.

“The U of C really is the top university for space-based hardware in Canada. We really have a lot of instruments that we’ve been developing here over the years,” Cully said.

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