AuroraSat: Canadian CubeSat Project

Main Project Contact:
Matthew Dares

Project Start Date:

Project End Date:

Project Name:

AuroraSat: Canadian CubeSat Project

Project Team:
Matthew Dares
Patrick Gall
Annika Trimble

Previous Team Members:

Kevin Wolsey

Anika Cockney-Goose

Lexis McDonald

Fletcher Dares


The Canadian Cubesat Project is a Canada-wide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) outreach and education project providing post-secondary students the opportunity to design and manufacture one of fifteen cube satellites built at Canadian academic institutions. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) provided grants to fifteen institutions representing every province and territory in 2018.

Aurora College is participating in the Canadian CubeSat Project through the construction of AuroraSat.  AuroraSat is a 2U CubeSat built through a partnership with Yukon University and the University of Alberta. This unique partnership links the three institutions under the name Northern SPIRIT (Space Program with Interesting Research and Integrated Training).

Annika Trimble; Patrick Gall; Inuvik; CubeSat; Robotics Club

A Northern Images Mission Demonstrational Satellite with the Northern SPIRIT logo painted on the side panel

Aurora College has developed three outreach missions to be flown on AuroraSat. These missions are intended to provide STEM outreach opportunities to youth and interested participants across the NWT at the elementary and high school levels. Along side the outreach missions, AuroraSat will fly a shared scientific mission that will also be flown on the satellites being built by the Yukon University and the University of Alberta. Running the same experiment of all three satellites allows spatially distributed data to be gathered. If you want to learn more about the shared scientific mission, you can read about it on the AlbertaSat website.

A Computer render of the fully assembled AuroraSat 2U CubeSat


AuroraSat will fly three outreach missions that link visual arts and language with space technology outreach. These missions are:

Northern Images Mission


      A stylized sample image that will be generated by the Northern Images Mission payload onboard AuroraSat

  • The Northern Images Mission aims to have participants develop artwork to be displayed in front of a camera mounted on the CubeSat. The artwork will be photographed with the earth's horizon in the background (see sample photo above). The project team plans to engage northern artists and youth to develop art for this platform.

  • If you are interested in participating in the Northern Image Mission, please see the ‘Participating in the Project’ (page anchor link?) for the handouts. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us: (

Northern Voices Mission:

  • The Northern Voices Mission has participants recording northern stories about space and sky. These recordings will be uploaded to the satellite and transmitted to amateur radios across the country in a variety of languages on a rotating schedule. The Aurora College team is still working on the details on how to contribute recordings aswell as the requirements needed to receive recordings from the satellite.

Northern Games Mission:

  • The Northern Games Mission has participants creating a globally interactive game for amateur radio operators to participate in. Specific data packets will be transmitted in certain geographic zones and will require global cooperation in order to decode a whole message. Messages and content will be developed on the subjects of northern Indigenous histories and languages. Details on how the specific frequencies and data structures that will be used in Northern Games Mission are still being developed.

Participate in the CubeSat Project: 

If you would like to create artwork that will be displayed in space, check out the four following worksheets on how to participate in the Northern Images Mission:

Mission Data Collection

Participant Information Form

Hand drawn Art Template

Artwork Waiver

 We have also been working on educational videos about the project. Check them out below:

Ohm's Law Explained 

We are actively developing participation packages for the Northern Voices and Northern Games Missions. If you would like to learn about others ways you can participate, please feel free to reach out to us at

Earth's upper atmosphere

Aurora College will be collaborating with partner insitutitions in the development of the CubeSat software, hardware, and four mission objectives. This collaboration will provide the opportunity for interested professionals and youth to participate on the design and construction of the CubeSat. 


Building the Satellite

Prototype of Northern Images Payload

The satellite is being built in two parts. The Northern Images Payload is being built in Inuvik, NWT at the Western Arctic Research Centre. The remainder of the satellite, reffered to as the satellite bus, is being assembled at the University of Alberta. The prototyping phase of the project began in early 2021, with the flight model of the satellite should be ready by the end of 2021.

Flying the Satellite:

The satellite will be launched in mid 2022. Once in orbit, the satellite will be operated by students at the University of Alberta and should remain in orbit for anywhere between 12 – 18 months. During this time, the satellite will perform it’s missions as it slowly gets closer and closer to earth. Eventually, AuroraSat will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up entirely.

External Partners:
Yukon College
University of Alberta, AlbertaSat
Canadian Space Agency


Space, Technology, STEM, Outreach, Satellite, CubeSat, Art, Language





Updated May 2021

Start Date: 
Monday, January 1, 2018