Students from the University of Alberta and University of Manitoba are celebrating the launch of their satellites this month. The Ex-Alta 2, designed by UAlberta students to capture images of active wildfires from orbit, was launched earlier this month aboard the Falcon 9 SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft. “The moment it launched there was a pin-drop silence,” said Thomas Ganley, lead manager of the project. UManitoba students’ Cube Satellite “Iris” has been selected by the Canadian Space Agency to be transported to the International Space Station at the beginning of June. Iris will carry geological samples and expose them directly to the sun, after which images of the samples will be used for research on Earth.