Our youngest engineering team-member Silas Eastwood, makes headlines

The Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) is the country’s largest annual youth science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) event, bringing together top young scientists and their projects, selected by our national network of over 100 regional STEM fairs in every province and territory. The weeklong event has 500 finalists in grades 7-12 competing for medals, cash prizes, scholarships and exclusive opportunities.

in 2021, Silas competed at the CWSF and he was awarded the Excellence in Astronomy Award (the prize is a telescope) and a Gold Medal! – Here at DSS we are so proud of him.

Silas’ project “Revolution Evolution” describes the design evolution of a CubeSat reaction wheel.

“For last year’s science fair project, SMARTEN, I created a simulated microgravity and reduced friction testbed for CubeSats. I got interested in reaction wheels because I needed to build one to test SMARTEN. That project led to me being invited to join DSSL’s LORIS program and that work was the motivation for my science fair project this year.”

 “My main goal is to provide a versatile alternative to commercial reaction wheels so that organizations with limited budgets can expand the types and number of missions they can pursue.”

What are the current outcomes?

I qualified for the Youth Science Canada Nova Scotia Regional competition after winning his school’s science fair. The regional competition was held this past week and I was selected as one of the 6 students to represent Nova Scotia at the National event to be held May 17-21.

(You can learn all about it here)

What are your next steps?

I received some useful feedback from the judges and will be incorporating a few small changes to his project. (A bit more testing!) I am excited to be part of team Nova Scotia, and am hoping to make the LORIS team proud too. 

SPOTLIGHT: Maxwell Power, Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS)

April, 2021

In our April spotlight, we chat with Maxwell Power, the ADCS lead for the LORIS Mission. Max has been busy leading the ADCS and took over the subsystem more than a year ago. Maxwell keeps in touch with all the members of his subsystem including the mechanical and electrical designers to ensure this subsystem’s milestones are reached.

Maxwell Power, ADCS Team Lead, DSS – LORIS Mission

Where are you from and why did you choose to study at Dalhousie?

            I am from Halifax, Nova Scotia and I chose to study at Dalhousie because it offers a great engineering program and is in the Maritimes.

What you’re studying?

            I am studying Mechanical Engineering.

How did you come to study your field/why are you interested in it?

            I entered Mechanical Engineering because I have a passion for designing dynamic systems such as robots and remotely operated vehicles. With both my parents being Mechanical Engineers, I have had a lot of experience seeing what is involved in the field and have grown up having a pretty good idea of what I want to do.

What is your subsystem for LORIS and does it do?

            I am the Team Lead for the Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) group as well as the Reaction Wheel Subcommittee. The ADCS subsystem uses magnetic field sensors, sun sensors, and a gyroscope to determine the pointing direction of the satellite and actuates magnetorquers and reaction wheels to de-spin and orient the satellite in the desired direction.

How did you come to be involved in the lab?

            Back in 2019, I reached out to Arad and from that point on, I have continued to become more involved with the project.

What is the thing you’re most excited about for the LORIS mission?

            I am currently very excited to see the reaction wheels coming together and cannot wait to watch them spin-up for the first time. What excites me the most is knowing that there is going to be a satellite soaring above Earth that we all had a part in making.

SPOTLIGHT: Nicholas Popp – Mechanical Go-To Engineer

One of the most involved and active members of the LORIS mission is our very own Nick Popp. Nick is heavily involved with two of our subsystems , and even helps other teams when they need help with all things mechanical related. He has done some instrumental Finite Element Modeling (FEM) and Thermal simulation, and we are very glad to have him. In this month’s issue of Spotlight, we will chat with Nick.

Nicholas Popp, Mechanical Engineer. DSS – LORIS Mission
Read more “SPOTLIGHT: Nicholas Popp – Mechanical Go-To Engineer”
Kenzie Timmons

SPOTLIGHT: Kenzie Timmons, Mechanical Subsystem

March, 2021

In this post, we will get to chat with Kenzie Timmons, the mechanical subsystem lead for the LORIS Mission. Kenzie has done an amazing job leading the mechanical subsystem that includes design and development of the chassis and integration and assembly of the final bus. Like all the other subsystem, this is complicated stuff and it takes great leadership to make sure everything is up to code.

Kenzie Timmons
Kenzie Timmons, DSS Mechanical Subsystem Lead, holding a model of the LORIS Satellite

Where are you from and why did you choose to study at Dalhousie? 

                I am originally from Inverness Nova Scotia but grew up in New Glasgow Nova Scotia. Dalhousie is just the natural progression for Engineers in Nova Scotia, I completed my first two years at Acadia University. 

What you’re studying? 

                I am currently in my 4th year of Mechanical Engineering with Coop. 

How did you come to study your field/why are you interested in it? 

                I have always loved math and physics but hate the theoretical nature behind them once you get advanced enough within each. As a kid I enjoyed creating things and for a long time I had no idea the exact study I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to use math and physics in real-world situations. It was not until I learned that engineering is also called applied science that I started looking further into the discipline. After learning that engineering is simply using every science to create things that seem impossible, I knew it was exactly what I was going to pursue. 

What is your subsystem for LORIS and does it do? 

                I am the team lead for the Mechanical Subsystem within LORIS. Originally the Chassis team, we handled the design of the metal framework that holds everything together and ensured it met all requirements for deployment and survival in space. As the project went on, Chassis became too specific for the work we do. We now handle the modeling of all subsystems and created the mechanical standards to follow within LORIS, we analyze both the structural and thermal stresses of the entire satellite, and we design all testing apparatus required by other subsystems. I like referring to us as the skeleton that keeps everyone together! 

How did you come to be involved with DSS? 

                In Fall 2019 I got an email sent to all 3rd year mechanical engineers seeking new individuals sent on behalf of the previous Chassis Lead. He gave me an intro task and a week to model a keychain. I completed the task that evening as I was too excited to wait, the next day I was on the team! Our lead only had 4 more months until graduating, so along with my first task of modeling the payload, the team was also instructed to think of a new lead. I stepped forward, thinking I had no chance as I was only on the team for a week, though turns out I was the only one to step forward! I spent the rest of the semester making sure I get as much information as possible and it was in that time, I truly found a love for LORIS and the work we do on this team. 

What is the thing you’re most excited about for the LORIS mission? 

                Everything! I, like many others, am a part of this mission because it is something I enjoy. I get to join in on the general meeting every week and be in awe at how quickly I get lost when software starts talking about their code, or OBC setting up remote access and virtual sims, or Power talking about circuitry, only to have them get lost when I start talking mechanical. DSS is full of amazing minds and I get to see them in action every week.