U of A Creating Satellite To Help Fight Wildfires

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U of A Creating Satellite To Help Fight Wildfires

The University of Alberta is getting set to launch a satellite into space in an attempt to help prevent wildfires.

The Canadian Space Agency is giving the AlbertaSat student group a $250,000 grant to help create the Ex-Alta 2.

The cube satellite is very small in nature – about the size of a loaf of bread.

AlbertaSat Systems Engineer Katelyn Ball tells Fort McMurray News their project has three focuses.

She says the biggest being early detection and tracking of wildfires.

“It’s usually done on the ground through word of mouth, through people calling in, so ideally our satellite will be able to kind of take that away from the people and get those early wildfires before they spread.”

Besides tracking, they will also be able to monitor ground conditions.

“How the season’s change, the overall colour of a large swath of land, so with that sort of data scientists can see where wildfires are most likely to start.”

Ball says the last focus will be on studying the burn effects of these wildfires.

“We can excess the growth rate at which the land recovers.”

As part of the grant, the group have gotten confirmation that their satellite will be launched up to the International Space Station.

Ball notes the launch will happen sometime in 2021. The hope being that Ex-Alta 2 is the start of creating their own constellation of satellites.
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