Physics and Space Science News and Events

CanX-7: Mission Accomplished!


On 26 September 2016, an RMC Physics and Space Science payload was launched into low Earth orbit onboard the CanX-7 nanosatellite (10 × 10 × 34 cm, 3.5 kg). The payload demonstrated the feasibility of space-based monitoring of air traffic through the reception Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) signals. The satellite also carried a 4 m2 drag sail for accelerated de-orbiting to reduce space debris. CanX-7 detected ADS-B signals for seven months at which point the drag sail was deployed. On 21 April 2022, after approximately 30,000 revolutions of the Earth, CanX-7 has intentionally burned up on descent into the atmosphere. Both the ADS-B mission and drag sail operation were a great success!

CanX-7 with drag-sail deployed
CanX-7 satellite
Global map showing the distribution of 4.3 million ADS-B contacts received by CanX-7

For more information, see The CanX-7 ADS-B Mission: Signal Propagation Assessment

RMC Astronomy Club presentation by Commodore Kurtz


The Commandant of the Royal Military College, Commodore M.T.J. (Josée) Kurtz (OMM, MSC, CD), gave a presentation to the RMC Astronomy Club on 27 October 2021.

Commodore Kurtz spoke on the topic of celestial navigation, and demonstrated the use of the marine sextant for precision measurement of angles.

A former navigator, the Commandant recalled her time as a junior officer posted on Canadian warships at sea.

The presentation, which took place in historic Currie Hall, was the first of several Astronomy Club events scheduled for 2021-2022

Commodore Josée Kurtz, the Commandant of RMC, standing by a slide of a marine sextant explaining its various components and capabilities. DND / Bryce Bennett
The Commandant of RMC, Commodore Josée Kurtz, in front of a slide of a Royal Canadian Navy warship, giving a presentation on celestial navigation. DND / Bryce Bennett
Commodore Kurtz gestures in front of a slide depicting the view through a marine sextant. DND / Bryce Bennett
Commodore Kurtz, speaking with members of the RMC Astronomy Club. DND / Bryce Bennett

Annual Physics for Defence Lecture 2022


Public Lecture

Physics for Defence Lecture 2022

"Is Space Relevant to the Canadian Armed Forces?"
by Dr. L. Sangalli

Department of Physics and Space Science
Royal Military College of Canada

Friday 1 April 2022, at 13:40
Sawyer Theatre (S 1303)

Contact: LCdr Steve Semenuk (


For most of us, space is a faraway realm, far beyond the Earth, where stars live and die. During most of the history of humanity, it has been a source of wonder and fueled a multitude of myths and legends. That is, until the 20th century. Indeed in the last 70 years, our understanding of space has grown steeply to the point that it is now an integral part of our daily lives. It is still as far away as it ever was, but now, we have developed the technology to reach out to it. Applications have multiplied as we have become more proficient at placing spacecraft into orbit. As a result, space usage is now relevant to individuals, commercial entities and governmental agencies, including the Department of National Defence.