Laurier’s space club offers hands on experiences to students

The Laurier Space Ventures Association, a campus club at Wilfrid Laurier University, is helping students achieve their dreams of learning about space crafts and exploration through hands-on experiences.

The club was created in 2014 by LSVA president, Henry Gusarovas.

“[LSVA] gives [students] the opportunity to explore the private space industry, so we kind of tell them what’s going on, we explore different space crafts that are being built currently and different companies that are coming out,” said Gusarovas.

The reason for creating the club, according to Gusarovas, was due in part to his realization that the international space industry is always changing.

“There’s not just NASA using government tax dollars just to send up space crafts anymore, it’s actually small companies that are getting contracted by the government,” he said.

According to Gusarovas, small aerospace companies such as Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) and Blue Origin are getting more and more funding from government subsidies to create more space crafts and conduct more extensive research.

Last year, LSVA created and launched the GOLDENHAWK-1 spacecraft via weather balloon into space.

Unfortunately, the project was unsuccessful the first time it was tested.

“The first time, it actually failed because it was too windy and we had way too much pressure in the balloon, so we had hundreds of dollars literally just blow up into the atmosphere,” said Gusarovas.

Fortunately for LSVA, after reconstructing the balloon a year later, the project proved to be successful after it was sent up again in Guelph.

“[We] made everything a lot lighter. We renegotiated for funding again and we basically launched it there. All we did was brought out a map. We unfolded the balloon and we filled it up with helium and we connected everything and then turned on the GoPro and just let it go.”

According to Gusarovas, the purpose of launching the spacecraft was to gather actual footage of space.

“We didn’t just want to get pictures and now we actually have footage of space and no one can tell us that the earth is not round, we figured it out for ourselves,” he said.

“I think it’s pretty cool. We’re seeing the renaissance of the space industry.”

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