Engineers and Geoscientists BC

Development and Operation of University of Victoria’s ORCASAT Cubesat

Hosted by the Victoria Branch

Friday, November 3, 2023
11:45 AM-1:00 PM Pacific time
Registration is now closed.

Eligible for 1 CE Hour(s) of Technical Learning

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Event Details


For more information on this event, please contact the Victoria Branch Chair

Event Description

Join the Victoria Branch and the Vancouver Island Engineering Society for a virtual presentation on the development and operation of their satellite the ORCASAT Cubesat. The Optical Reference Calibration Satellite (ORCASat) is a 2U CubeSat designed and built in-house by University of Victoria (UVic) Centre for Aerospace Research students. ORCASat was launched 29 December 2022 and is now in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and operated by the team at UVic.

Event Presenter(s)

Dr. Afzal Suleman

About the Event

Event Description

The Optical Reference Calibration Satellite (ORCASat) is a 2U CubeSat (227 mm x 100 mm x 100 mm satellite) designed and built in-house by students at the University of Victoria (UVic) Centre for Aerospace Research. ORCASat also had major contributions from volunteers at UVic Satellite Design, University of British Columbia (UBC) Orbit, and Simon Fraser University (SFU) Satellite student engineering teams. ORCASat – the first student-built CubeSat in BC to be launched into space – is British Columbia’s submission to the Canadian CubeSat Project (CCP). The ORCASat mission has two primary objectives: 1. Train Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) in space science and technology by providing an unrivaled, hands-on learning experience for undergraduate and graduate students. 2. Demonstrate new technologies for calibrating Earth-based telescopes by providing a reference light source in orbit. ORCASat was launched on 29 December 2022 from Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Cargo Dragon module of CRS-26. ORCASat is now in LEO (Low Earth Orbit) orbit. On the same day, the first contact was made with the ORCASat CubeSat and it is being operated now by the UVic team.

Event Schedule

11:30 AM – Event Login Open
11:45 AM – Event Welcome and Introduction
12:00 PM – Presentation with Q&A
1:00 PM – Event Finish


Dr. Afzal Suleman

Principal Investigator

Dr. Afzal Suleman started his academic career at Instituto Superior Tecnico in Portugal in 1995 where he steered and laid the foundations of the new undergraduate and graduate program in Aerospace Engineering. In 2000, Afzal Suleman joined the Faculty of Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Victoria, Canada where he is Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) and Professor. He has previously been Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Engineering (2005-2009) and Associate Vice President Research (2009-2010). He has been a national delegate at the United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS), and he is currently a panel member at the NATO Research and Technology Organization Applied Vehicle Technology (AVT-CSO). He is Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a member of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, and a member of the AIAA Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Technical Committee and has chaired numerous engineering conference committees and workshops. Afzal Suleman obtained his BSc (Honours) and MSc in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College, University of London in the UK followed by a PhD in Space Dynamics in 1992 from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Following the completion of the PhD, he attended the International Space University and completed the Advanced Space Studies Program in Japan, and was awarded the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Fellowship in the USA for a period of two years (1992-1994) to further his research in Advanced Aerospace Structures at Wright-Patterson AFB, U.S. Air Force.