Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for September 29th!
Who was the first Canadian in space? Many would say Marc Garneau.
But others would argue, that the first Canadian in space was the Alouette 1!
September 29th, 1962, the satellite Alouette 1 was sent into space. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of Canada, looks at the Canadian satellite Alouette 1.
It was a cold a chilly morning, September 29, 1962 as a US Thor-Agena rocket lifted off from a launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California. It was fitting that a very cold breeze was blowing, as the rocket was carrying the Canadian designed and built Alouette 1 satellite.
This was Canada’s first satellite, making Canada the third country, behind the Soviet Union (Russia) and the United States, to have a human made satellite placed into orbit.
The name “Alouette” came from the French “skylark” and from the title of a popular French-Canadian folk song, “Alouette”.
Alouette was used to study the ionosphere, an area of the upper atmosphere where many future satellites would be placed into orbit. In the 10 years that Alouette 1 operated more than one million ionograms were produced. Canadian scientists gained prominence as world experts on the upper atmosphere. In 1987, Alouette was designated one of the ten most outstanding achievements in the first 100 years of engineering in Canada.
Reliability was a major problem of the early satellites. Many of the first satellites had a life span of only a few months. Alouettes’ engineers worked hard at identifying problem areas, testing and re-testing components, and only using the most reliable parts.
Alouette 1 remains in orbit and some suggest there is a slim chance it might turn on if the right signals were transmitted. In 1966, it was estimated that Alouette 1 would remain in orbit for 1000 years or even longer!
And that’s this week Canadian History for Kids Sketches of Canada!