CubeSat NB | UNB

CubeSat NB

New Brunswick’s first CubeSat

CubeSat NB is a first-of-its-kind partnership among the New Brunswick Community College, the Université de Moncton, and the University of New Brunswick. Our goal is to educate students as we design, build and test New Brunswick's first cube satellite, a CubeSat. Our CubeSat is named VIOLET, after the purple violet, New Brunswick's flower. CubeSat NB plans to have VIOLET deployed from the International Space Station in 2022.

What is a CubeSat?

CubeSats are miniature satellites that are revolutionizing access to space. These “faster, smaller, smarter and cheaper” satellites provide a platform for low-cost technology development and scientific research (source: Canadian Space Agency). VIOLET will be a 2U CubeSat, less than 3.6 kg, about the size of a loaf of bread, 20 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm.

New insights into Earth’s ionosphere

CubeSat NB will provide new insights into the behaviour of Earth’s ionosphere.

CubeSat will receive signals transmitted by global navigation satellite systems, such as GPS, as they travel through the ionosphere and are affected by it.

Researchers will be able to use the data to further study how the ionosphere changes from place to place over time, as well as how it responds to space weather. Significant space weather events can interfere with communications system and electrical grids.

One camera on board

An atmospheric imager will allow researchers to study the distribution of oxygen in the upper atmosphere, capturing images of the red and green light oxygen atoms give off during aurora and airglow events. The images from these spectral cameras will be used to examine the varying composition of the ionosphere.

Why create CubeSat NB?

Building and operating CubeSat NB will:

  • engage a large number of engineering, science and technology students in New Brunswick,
  • advance student understanding of the technology, construction and operation of satellites, and
  • contribute to the pool of New Brunswick talent in the aerospace industry.


Troy Lavigne, Project Engineer
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of New Brunswick

Brent Petersen, Associate Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of New Brunswick