Set to launch in 2021, the Optical and Radio Calibration Satellite (ORCASat) is a multi-payload satellite intended to demonstrate a calibration system for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) in Northern Chile, the Pan-STARRS telescope
in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the Canadian Hydrogen Internist mapping Experience (CHIME) Radio Telescope in Penticton, British Columbia.
ORCASat is being built as part of the Canadian Cubesat Project, a Canadian Space Agency initiative which awarded a series of $200,000 grants to academic institutions in each province and territory to design, build, launch, and operate a small satellite.
The University of Victoria was selected as the recipient of the grant in British Columbia, and collaborators at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University play a critical role in the project.
Homathko is a 3U cubesatellite which won 2nd overall at the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (CSDC) in June 2018. Homathko's mission was to provide calibrations to ground based observatories from orbit to reduce the effects atmospheric
and instrumental interference have on measurements of type 1a supernovea, which are critical for dark energy research.
The mission was born out of the Airborne Laser for Telescopic Atmospheric Interference Reduction (ALTAIR) project lead by Dr. Justin Albert at the University of Victoria's Department of Physics and Astronomy. ALTAIR was meant to calibrate observatories via a payload on board a high altitude long endurance (HALE) weather balloon.
The ORCASat Project is the next iteration of this callibration system, and is set to launch in 2021.