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.