Timothy Cai in video for his science fair project, on Youth Science Canada website.

Timothy Cai in video for his science fair project, on Youth Science Canada website.


Rocket project launches Surrey student to Canada-Wide Science Fair award

Innovation nod for Timothy Cai of Fraser Heights Secondary

Surrey teen Timothy Cai has rocketed to the orbit of Canada’s top young scientists.

The Fraser Heights Secondary student earned an Innovation award during the Canada-Wide Science Fair, a virtual event for 2021.

Among the top six contest winners, Timothy earned Best Senior/Platinum recognition, among some other awards, for his “Investigation into Active Control for Accessible Orbital Flight.”

It’s all about rockets, which Timothy says can be made available to everyone with small-scale active control.

On Youtube, he posted a one-minute video about his project.

“Everyone knows that rockets are big and expensive, and their payloads, doubly so,” Timothy explained in a project overview. “However, in the past decade, a new standard of satellite called the SmallSat has began to take hold in the hobby and university communities. These are far smaller and cheaper than the satellites the Falcon 9 or the Space Shuttle launch, and so it does not make commercial sense to pay a million dollars minimum to launch a $20,000 satellite.”

Timothy says there should be a rocket optimized for SmallSats and the community that encircles that standard, that is flexible and affordable.

“They need a rocket that can be launched on demand and take their satellite, and only theirs, to the orbit they want,” Timothy explained. “That’s exactly what I set out to prove possible in this project. Powered by a commercial motor, positioned using the same orientation system as the Space Shuttle, and with hardware developed as a scaled-down version of commercial vehicles’, this project is a nano-rocket capable of demonstrating all the required technologies for controlled flight. With small-scale active control, the future of spaceflight can be made available to everyone.”

Test videos and other project details are posted to twitter.com/SigmaSpace.

A Grade 11 student at Fraser Heights, Timothy runs the school science club and makerspace. In the future, he hopes to “stand out in the field of aerospace and catch the attention of SpaceX.”

Timothy and the other competition winners were celebrated Friday (May 21) during an online awards ceremony hosted by Youth Science Canada. The 374 finalists vied for scholarships totalling nearly $900,000.

Projects tackling biogas production, teleophthalmology and antioxidant protectors are among this year’s top winners. The complete list of Canada-Wide Science Fair award recipients is posted to youthscience.ca.

The 59th annual awards event was scheduled to be held at Carlton University in Ottawa, but shifted online due to the pandemic.


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