Member Spotlight – Katelyn Ball

Katelyn Ball is a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering student that joined AlbertaSat in her second year of engineering. She originally learned about AlbertaSat in her ENGG 100 class and knew right away that she wanted to join, but it wasn’t until 2nd year that she actually did it. It was Katie’s interest in working with satellites that led to her joining, anything in the space industry has been intriguing to her and the moment she heard the lecture she knew she wanted to join.


Katie started on the operations team, working with Ruth organizing files, working on the archive and helped plan team building until she left for her co-op term. Katie has been working in Surrey, BC and even while she has been gone, she’s continued to take one for the team, and has continued working on the ever dreaded archive for AlbertaSat.


AlbertaSat has really opened up her eyes to what students are capable of accomplishing, in highschool she couldn’t imagine that students would be able build a satellite that actually works and launches into space. She also really loves being around people that are in this group because they’re passionate about space. Space has always been her passion and she never really had a lot of people around her who shared that interest. AlbertaSat has given her the special opportunity of being able to have a group of people that love the same thing.


Although archiving is … thrilling … it’s not quite Katie’s favourite part of her role in AlbertaSat. However, she does really enjoy how she can continue to be involved in the group even though she’s not in Alberta. Katie’s done some awesome work and has been super dedicated to continuing her role in the group. She had the lovely privilege of going through the never ending number of time lapses (there were approximately 200) about the group and renaming all of them . She was able to get some of this done while at work which is a bonus. Katie would decide to launch 1000 1U CubeSats in order to cover more ground with them, they could work together that way.


Space and astronomy have always been Katie’s ‘thing’, they were a phase that she never outgrew and has always been interested in. She’s always known that that’s what she wanted to do and even though it can be an intimidating and difficult career path she’s never lost doubt that it is exactly what she wants to do. Right now, during her work term, Katie has been working at an oil and gas company. In her spare time, Katie, her dad, and her grandad have been building a camera mount, barn door tracker. The camera moves in the opposite direction of the earth so you can take long exposure photos, focusing in on astro-photography. The development of the mount requires all different types of skills. Katie has been pushed to utilize her mechanical, electrical, and softwaring knowledge in order to build the mount. It has also required a little bit of coding. Through this project, Katie has been able to expand her knowledge, while taking initiative and also curing her boredom. Katie’s grandad went to the University of Alberta in 1948 but got kicked out as a result of bad grades. However, he is Katie’s biggest inspiration, he is without a degree and has successfully educated himself in telecommunications which was a topic that was very new in 1948, he’s the smartest person she knows. Katie’s dad isn’t an engineer either and the three of them, all rookies, are learning together to build this camera mount and barn door tracker. Aside from being a camera mount expert, Katie also just ran a half marathon. She claims to not have had many athletic abilities so it is definitely her biggest accomplishment outside of school.


Katie’s plans after graduation definitely include something in the space industry. Throughout high school and even before she can remember, she always wanted to be an astronaut. Right now, everything she does is to work towards that goal, she hopes to get extra experience to enhance her chances of becoming an astronaut. In order to gain this experience she hopes to focus on the space industry and do things like getting her pilot’s license which will help push her towards becoming a candidate. After working on her project back home, Katie has been finding herself more interested in electronics rather than specifically mechanics, however she does know she will pursue something in the space industry without a doubt.


Katie is very excited to get back from Surrey and start getting involved in the more technical roles as she hasn’t really had a lot of chances to show her technical abilities just yet. However, she’s continued to stay committed and has been keeping up with the emails and seeing the opportunities everyone has been enjoying so she’s ready to come back and get started. After being on the outskirts for the past term it’s helped her realize just how lucky the people in AlbertaSat are to have the opportunities that this group has brought on. Whenever someone at her company hears that she is in AlbertaSat they are always so amazed and wish that they could be in a group like that. Katie’s favorite thing about Ex Alta-1 is that it is pioneering the space industry in western Canada. Katie’s from Vancouver and she would like to stick around western Canada for her career so it’s amazing and inspiring for her to see opportunities like AlbertaSat help grow the aerospace advancements in western Canada.
Katie’s positive attitude is contagious and is truly a gift to AlbertaSat. She’s really excited to work on Ex Alta-2 and excited to get to know everyone more. We can’t wait to have you back in the action this semester Katie.


Author: Casia McLeod

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