Winter 2009 Issue

The WinCube Project

In this article we see how Manitoba (Canada) high school students have become involved in pico-satellite construction, amateur radio,
and high-altitude balloons.



By Stefan Wagener, VE4NSA, Jeff Cieszecki, VE4CZK,
Barbara Bowen, Wayne Ellis, and Norm Lee

Photo1. WinCube project components.

The WinCube Project is a cooperative effort among Manitoba high schools, the Manitoba Satellite Interest group (MSIG), the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba, Maples Collegiate Space Exploration Academy, the Manitoba Aerospace Human Resources Coordinating Committee, and numerous aerospace industry partners.

Through a mentorship program, Manitoba high school students will be involved in the design, construction, and launch of a pico-satellite with technical support provided by aerospace faculty and engineering students. Basic system design and construction experience for the high school students is provided by the construction and launch of high-altitude balloon payloads. Students learn first-hand about space mission design, telecommunications, programming, electrical and mechanical engineering, and amateur radio through a summer camp program, ongoing workshops, and courses.

WinCube

The WinCube project (photo 1) is a multi-facetted approach of exposing high school students to amateur radio, aerospace, science, and technology. Its core areas involve a satellite project (CubeSat), an annual summer space camp, a high-altitude balloon project (B-Cube), and annual amateur radio classes combined with hands-on construction projects, as well as the operation of existing and future amateur radio satellites through a new satellite ground station.

The CubeSat Project

The CubeSat Project was initiated in the spring of 2006 by the Manitoba Satellite Interest Group (MSIG) Inc., and MindSet, the Manitoba Network for Science and Technology, to provide Manitoba High School students with the opportunity to be involved in the design, construction, and launching of a pico-satellite.

Initial funding for the project was obtained through NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) and MindSet as a program of Manitoba Science, Technology, Energy, and Mines. The project is designed to challenge students in the fields of science and technology.

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