Concordia's Cubesat Team, Led by UrtheCast Co-op, Clinches First Place in the Canadian Satellite Des

Space is hard - a fact that the entire space industry can attest to.And like those already entrenched in the space sector, this young team of Concordia students recently overcame a string of critical challenges to nab top spot in 2016's Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC).The CSDC is a Canada-wide university competition that challenges students to design and build a small satellite or 'cubesat'.

Jan Dee, an UrtheCast co-op and Concordia University student, led his team, Space Concordia, while building their winning cubesat over the course of two years."We strove to become a mini space agency." - Jan Dee, UrtheCast co-op and head of 'Space Concordia'In total, eight university teams took part in the challenge, which culminated in launch vibration testing of seven satellites at the Canadian Space Agency's David Florida Laboratory (DFL) in Ottawa."Although a few nuts, bolts, deployables, and solar cell chips came loose from several teams' satellites during the testing, Concordia 'kept it together,' then successfully deployed the antenna and passed a functional test to prove that it had survived," explained UrtheCast Senior Engineering Member and CSDC Board Member, Larry Reeves.

Scooping up second place was the University of Manitoba team, while the third place title went to the École Polytechnique de Montréal.The École Polytechnique de Montréal team was also awarded the Educational Outreach Award - sponsored by UrtheCast - for their exceptional community outreach efforts, which included educational and inspirational presentations to pre-university students and the general public.In total, seven designs were tested, which is a huge increase from previous years, explained Mr.


"What was so great is that the staff at DFL were incredibly accommodating and professional with the student teams. The teams got the same level of service that any space company would get, as well as some guidance and mentoring from the DFL staff.Every year, the CSDC competition gets stiffer.

"It is becoming evident that the participating universities are all increasing their capabilities from one competition to the next, and it is getting significantly more difficult to differentiate between first place and third place," Mr. Reeves explained."Space Concordia was the highlight of my degree, without a doubt." - Jan Dee"The best part of winning this competition, is that there were times where we thought we would not be able to complete the satellite.

Many times where the end seemed very unclear and out of reach," explained Jan, noting differing opinions among team members, absence of experience, strained schedules, and financial hurdles. "But even then, the team never gave up and, together, we ended up accomplishing something that goes way beyond anything we ever imagined."Now, isn't that the perfect metaphor for the space industry?Jan is currently working on UrtheCast's OptiSAR Constellation team.

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Has anyone ever mocked you by saying "Ching Chong" just because you're Asian?

I'm not Asian. This is about a friend of mine who was a lab partner in middle-school.

The teacher started things off on the wrong foot. I wasn't a fan of his in general, but he really pissed me off when he stared down the class and asked who among us went to Sunday school. When it wasn't a unanimous response, he expanded his survey to include churchgoers. My friend and I sat and stared him down. He pointed at the two of us and told us we were his "heathens". That's how he referred to us for the rest of the year. I doubt anyone would get away with doing what he did these days, but it was a different time and they had a more absolute sort of power. Bullying was widespread, almost institutionalized.

Our status as "heathens" was a launch-point to our being the classroom punchline, which was something the teacher openly encouraged. We would protest, but he had the whole class against us. Egged on by this anti-"heathen" atmosphere, some stupid kid let out a guffaw at a brilliant idea he'd had and sang it out loud in front of the whole class. Remember, we were thirteen.

Chinese, Chinese, Chong-Chong-Chong

Chinese girls last all night long

That is why I sing this song

Chinese, Chinese, Chong-Chong-Chong.

I saw my friend's cheeks turn pink and murmured to her not to listen, but she abruptly stood and knocked the lab stool backward so sharply it barked against the tile floor and made the whole class jump. The kid was pleased that he got a reaction; the teacher smacked his gum and smiled at the show. She stormed over to the boy and I thought she was going to slap him. I remember understanding the feeling but hoping that she wouldn't, because if she hit him the school would decide she was the aggressor and she'd be the one to get the suspension. As if she also realized this, her raised hand turned to a pointed finger jabbed in his face and she said,

"Anyway, I'm Thai, you IDIOT."

Then she walked out.

I don't know what happened, but the classroom after that was noticeably silent on matters of ethnicity. The cynical part of me doesn't credit the school coming to its senses about completely over-the-line behavior and what would amount today to hate speech. Rather, the story had probably gotten back to her father, who was a prominent local physician. He had most likely gotten involved. Social standing stepped in where common sense should have.

I wish I could say the teacher stopped calling us "heathens", but he didn't. He called it out to us as we left his classroom for the last time in the spring. I googled his name a while back and found out that he's been dead for years. His obituary talked about what a wonderful teacher and all-around stellar human being he was. My friend and I lost touch after high school but she seems to be happy and successful. I don't know what happened to the kid who sang the awful song.

I'm glad that sort of incident sparks outrage today. It never should have happened and that teacher never should have encouraged it.

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