Philip Ferguson

Philip Ferguson

Mechanical Engineering
University of Manitoba

Chair title

NSERC/Magellan Aerospace Industrial Research Chair in Satellite Engineering

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Associate Chairholder since 2017


Over the past 50 years, the space industry has been hesitant to adopt many of the most cutting-edge advances in satellite research. As a result, satellite missions continue to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and satellites take close to a decade to design and build before launch. This NSERC / Magellan Aerospace Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Satellite Engineering will bring the University of Manitoba and Magellan Aerospace, Winnipeg, together in a collaborative, interdisciplinary research program to overcome some of the barriers that prevent the space industry from implementing new technologies. This Associate IRC program will improve the reliability of space missions and reduce the cost and design-cycle time by addressing key aspects of space systems design.

First, resilient spacecraft control systems will be developed by investigating safe, self-configuring and adaptive satellite-control strategies that reduce development time by eliminating the need for simulation, characterization or calibration before launch. Second, robust and scalable "cloud-based" navigation solutions will be developed that can leverage knowledge of existing space objects to help control satellite position and orientation in orbit. Third, smart technologies will be developed for harsh space environments; these can be embedded into multi-function structural spacecraft panels to provide protection from launch vibration, radiation and small particles. A multi-vehicle drone testbed will be developed to evaluate, characterize and demonstrate these technologies without a full satellite launch. During this program, students will work with Magellan Aerospace to understand the challenges of satellite engineering and to design and build a technology demonstration satellite mission in the jointly owned Advanced Satellite Integration Facility. This program will train seven Master's students and four PhD students, exposing them to space engineering through collaboration with Magellan Aerospace. The enabling technologies developed in this program will make space engineering more relevant, and make space more accessible, to Canadian companies and research institutions.


  • Magellan Aerospace

Contact information

Mechanical Engineering
University of Manitoba



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