University of Saskatchewan

April 16, 2014   

New funding assures U of S participation in Canada-Norway rocket program

February 01, 2011

Budding space scientists from the University of Saskatchewan and two other Canadian universities will continue CaNoRock, a novel rocket research program, thanks to an agreement among several Canadian and Norwegian universities and research agencies.

A memorandum of understanding signed on January 20 at Norway’s Andøya Rocket Range solidifies the first phase of CaNoRock, a 10-year student exchange program aimed at teaching students to build and launch rockets into the upper atmosphere. Following two successful trials of the CaNoRock exchange, the Canadian Space Agency and the University of Alberta signed an agreement in December 2010 that provides $300,000 over three years to allow students from the Universities of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Calgary to participate.

“CaNoRock is a marvelous opportunity for students,” said Kathryn McWilliams, leader of the U of S contingent. “They enjoy the challenge of real rocket science, with the added bonus of getting to know and work with students from Norway. CaNoRock has also raised the profile of space science with our students; four of the eight U of S students who have participated in CaNoRock will be going on to graduate studies in space science. The sky is no longer the limit with CaNoRock!”

This year’s U of S students included Chad Holst (electrical engineering), Steven Bachiu (engineering physics), and Sarah Toderian (engineering physics). McWilliams is associate professor of physics and engineering physics based at the U of S Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies.

Working at Andøya Rocket Range, Canadian students spend the week with their Norwegian colleagues learning to analyze rocket trajectories, integrate payloads such as instrument packages in their rockets, and analyze data. This year, 21 students participated.

The week culminates in the launch of a full-scale student-built sounding rocket. CaNoRock-3 “Aurora Arrow” was launched on January 20 and reached an altitude of about nine kilometers in 35 seconds.

CaNoRock was initiated by the University of Oslo and the Andøya Rocket Range. Participating organizations include the U of S, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Tromsø, University of Bergen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Narvik University College, Norwegian Space Centre, and the Norwegian Centre for Space Related Education.

Andøya offers the world’s northernmost rocket ranges: the Andøya range, at 69 degrees north latitude, and Ny-Aalesund on the island of Svalbard, at 78 degrees north latitude. Andøya, nestled in the mountains, offers clear skies and spectacular views of atmospheric phenomenon such as the aurora borealis (northern lights). For more information on the CaNoRock program, including footage of the students’ rocket launch, visit http://www.rocketrange.no/?p=949. A blog, including photos, about the experiences of the U of S students is available at http://blogs.usask.ca/rockroll.

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For more information, contact:

Michael Robin
University Research Communications
(306) 966-1425
michael.robin@usask.ca

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