13/06/2023 | Return to Latest News

Since 2019, Memorial University students have been working on the Killick-1, Newfoundland and Labrador’s first Earth observation satellite. As the Killick-1 is nearing a launch into space, Memorial University has received some exciting news – it has been selected as one of nine universities across Canada to take part in the Canadian Space Agency’s (CSA’s) CUBICS project to develop a second nano satellite: the MUNStars-1 (formally known as the Killick-2).

Similar to the CSA’s Canadian CubeSat Project that provided the grant for the Killick-1, Memorial University has received a grant of $350,000 that will again be developed through a joint effort from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and C-CORE.

CUBICS will provide professors and post-secondary students an opportunity to collaboratively work together in an end-to-end space mission adapted to their level of comfort, expertise and readiness. Teams throughout Canadian universities will take part in a hands-on experience to design, build, test, launch, and operate their own nano satellite called a CubeSat. Mr. Power says CUBICS is an incredible opportunity for Newfoundland and Labrador students to get experience in space systems development. “The previous Killick-1 mission provided training to well over 120 students over a four-year period and we expect even more from CUBICS,” he said.

Desmond Power, C-CORE’s Vice President of Remote Sensing

The CUBICS project provides students in each of the partner universities an opportunity to utilize their knowledge, skills and expertise to build their satellite. Each of the satellites will provide their unique data to help better understand climate change, with the MUNStars-1 expected to focus on ocean monitoring in support of climate change adaptation.

Formally announced as the “Killick-2”, the team decided to rename the nano satellite to “MUNStars-1”, stating that the new name is more representative of the university. The team intends to create the MUNStars-1 satellite as an enhancement of the Killick-1 satellite. This project will involve a new student design team, although Dr. Weimin Huang, an electrical and computer engineering professor and Desmond Power, vice-president of remote sensing at C-CORE, will continue to be the project leads.

“MUNStars-1’s payload will play a role in helping to understand Canada’s ocean environment,” said Dr. Huang. “The ocean plays a significant role in global climate and human activities, and therefore, a good knowledge of our oceans is critical. The data from MUNStars-1 will provide important inputs to weather and climate models. My research team will focus on providing enhanced knowledge on Canada’s oceans, and climate change impacts.”  “These are satellites that we own and control allowing us the freedom to collect data wherever we think is important,” Mr. Power added.

Dr. Weimin Huang, Professor in MUN’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science


The MUNStars-1 is projected to launch in 2025-2026.