By Helena Ard

Adam Carscadden is in his 3rd year of his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics. He has been involved with AlbertaSat since high school, and interested in astronomy for a lot longer. When he was in high school, a friend of his, Erik Halliwell, in AlbertaSat who knew about enthusiasm and his plan to study astrophysics invited him to meet the group. He joined more formally in his first year and became a member of the science team, and was invited to become a member of the newly formed Northern SPIRIT Systems Engineering team in his second year.

The Northern SPIRIT team that Adam is currently working as a part of is a collaboration between the University of Alberta, Yukon University in Whitehorse and Aurora Research Institute in Inuvik. Northern SPIRIT LogoNorthern SPIRIT is a separate, but similar project to Ex-Alta 2, worked on in conjunction with these two northern universities. Adam, along with the other members in Alberta, help with developing the bus, while the teams in the Yukon and Nunavut develop payloads for their own 2U CubeSats.

Being a part of AlbertaSat has definitely shaped Adam’s career path. Initially, Adam was planning on getting a PhD in and teaching Astrophysics, which was part of the reason he joined the club. However, the collaborative style of work being done, along with the teamwork environment of AlbertaSat were something that Adam realized he wanted to continue working with in the future, and caused him to switch his major from astrophysics to math and physics. The switch allowed him more time to dedicate towards working with AlbertaSat and also sets Adam up to work on engineering projects similar to AlbertaSat after he graduates.  Having the foresight to switch majors is one of Adam’s proudest accomplishments in University.

Aside from helping him decide his career path, Adam is happy to develop technical skills and enhance his degree as a member of AlbertaSat. He is also grateful to be part of such a great group of people, and has made many friends through the club. When asked about advice for new members, Adam had a lot to say. Firstly, the club doesn’t require new members to be an expert and is very beginner friendly. Anyone who wants to join and is willing to put in work is sure to find a place. He emphasizes that learning to be vulnerable and ask questions in situations you aren’t comfortable is important. There’s a significant chance that other people might have the same questions. Adam says that the club has really helped him with time management, as balancing time between AlbertaSat, other student groups, and classes is a continuous process.

When asked about the future of AlbertaSat, Adam can’t help but put a Northern SPIRIT spin on it, envisioning working on simultaneous satellites with other post secondary institutions, where the payload would be developed abroad but the University of Alberta team would work on the bus, and use their experience to help other schools. Adam envisions multiple satellites could be in development at once, as opposed to a single project. Although Adam is no longer studying Astrophysics, he puts an immense amount of time into developing satellites in Northern SPIRIT, and would still love to work in the space industry in the future.