By Casia McLeod
“The lifetime of a black hole is longer than the lifetime of the universe. That’s super cool and I hope people read that and get inspired to study physics.”
Darian Van Paridon is a 4th year Engineering Physics student here at the U of A. He is also AlbertaSat’s Systems Engineering co-lead. Darian joined AlbertaSat in September of 2015 when he decided to seek out projects to do outside of class. He was encouraged to join and was brought in by his buddy, John Grey. He started out as a thermal engineering member for the mechanical team but quickly worked his way up the ladder to his current lead position. Darian stands out in the group not only by his large contributions but also quite literally, he is 6’6” and has played various intramural sports including inner tube water polo and ultimate frisbee. He also played hockey and rugby when he was younger and he also skateboards. Which is quite unique as an engineering student. This past summer Darian and 2 of his buddies drove to LA to visit Hollywood in a 3 seater, 88 Astro Van.
Inside of AlbertaSat Darian is proud of his participation in the first canadian smallsat symposium where he presented a conference paper on the thermal model. He presented a transient circuit model for Ex-Alta 1 that was a continuation of a previous project that he took over. This model had been made his own after he took it over from a former member, Grace. Darian suped it up and presented it. His success in the group has come from putting in the hard work and always being willing to contribute a lot of time. He took over the thermal model and that was the prime opportunity, he presented it and this really solidified his position as a serious member. After that he then became the Systems Lead.
“I love how cool the whole scope of the project is, it is on a whole other level”. Getting to learn a lot about the satellite overall is part of Darian’s favorite part of his role at AlbertaSat. When he first started he was focused more on the different required materials but now he has to be concerned with all these differing technical aspects. This is great for him as it really is his goal, he’s going into the aerospace masters program to learn about satellites inside and out. His current role has given him a great basis to go off of and it is increasing his knowledge enormously. If given the choice, Darian would launch a one 1000U cubesat because he’s been watching a lots of TED talks about space debris and just can’t imagine that it would be a good idea to be launching 1000 1U cubesats. With the upcoming development of Ex-Alta 2, Darian is looking forward to building a cubesat with an imager payload, he has been thinking about this concept for a year now and it’s something that he’s really excited to see possibly getting done. Also, he’s excited for all that it can do to apply services to detect and prevent Alberta’s wild fires. His favourite part of Ex-Alta 1 is simply that it is the first satellite from Alberta.
A major accomplishment of Darian’s is his recent acceptance into TU Delft for the fall semester to begin his Masters program. Darian is moving at the start of July to Utrecht to take a 6 week Dutch course before he starts his Masters in late August. He is doing the Dutch classes through the U of A UGoAbroad program and he even won a scholarship to help pay for the course and living expenses. Therefore, Darian will be living there in Utrecht for a while and then he is planning on moving to either Rotterdam or The Hague for when he is studying in Delft. These are all real close together in South Holland.
“I also have extended family that lives in South Holland and so I’m excited to meet them when I get there”.
The program that Darian is going into is a MSc. Aerospace Engineering with a Space Flight specialization.
“It is a thesis based Masters and so I’m hoping that I will be able to do either a payload or systems engineering project for a spacecraft mission over there. ”
Darian’s hard has certainly paid off and is being exemplified through his acceptance to TU Delft, however it doesn’t stop there. Darian was also awarded the Justus & Louise van Effen Scholarship which is a full ride scholarship that will provide 2 years of coverage for tuition and living expenses.
“I’m really excited for the new experiences and opportunities! I’ve always wanted to try out the European lifestyle, and I also want to work with the aerospace companies in Delft like ISISpace. Overall I’m very excited and only a little nervous!”