Meet Dr. David Miles, who was a participant at the very first CaNoRock student rocket program ten years ago

David Miles is today an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa in The United States. Being from Canada, he was there at the birth of the student rocket program called CaNoRock ten years ago. This week, the 18th camp is held at Andøya Space Center with students various universities in Norway and Canada.

The University of Iowa at Andøya Space Center for the second integration of the ICI-5 Sounding Rocket Mission. Dr. Miles’ group is providing a fluxgate magnetometer and Dr. Halekas’ group is providing a Bifocal electron sensor. (Photo: Miles Research Group)

– In the late fall of 2009, I was one of the participants in the very first CaNoRock student rocket program, and having done that I went on to finish a master’s degree, said Dr. David Miles in an interview last year with NAROM and continues: Later I finished my PhD, and I was recently appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Iowa. I’m thrilled to now be able to bring students here myself into a lecture at this the 15th iteration of the program.

Dr. David Miles was last week at Andøya Space Center again, but this time he didn’t bring students to the 18th iteration of the CaNoRock program. He was here with his research group for the second integration of instruments for the upcoming ICI-5 research rocket campaign.

The Canadian-Norwegian student rocket program CaNoRock is born

– In March 2009, there was a meeting called the Transatlantic Science Week in Saskatchewan in Canada, where scientists from Norway, Canada and the United States met to discuss what sort of scientific interests they might have in common, said Dr. David Miles in the interview. From that meeting, there was a discussion that all of the participating countries and participating universities had a common interest in space science and space engineering. What they didn’t have, was a way of attracting highly qualified students into space programs.

Around the same time, a separate meeting in Saskatchewan was arranged between Norwegian and Canadian universities by Kolbjørn Blix, director of Space Systems at Andøya Space Center and Dr. Jøran Moen, a professor at University of Oslo. In the evening prior to this meeting, Kolbjørn Blix shared with Dr. Jøran Moen a new idea he had of a Canadian-Norwegian student rocket program. Then, the following day when they met with others, including Ian Mann from Alberta and Kathryn McWilliams from Saskatchewan, plans for first CaNoRock field school at Andøya Space Center was made and to be arranged later that same year, says Kolbjørn Blix and continues:

– After the first CaNoRock, there was a CaNoRock workshop in Alberta in February 2010, and a follow-up meeting with the Canadian Space Agency and the Norwegian Space Center. By then, Calgary had also joined in, and the official CaNoRock kick-off happened with CaNoRock III in January 2011.

An interview with Dr. David Miles

During the interview we did with Dr. David Miles in 2018 (which you can watch below), he shares some of the things he finds intriguing with this student rocket program:

– One of the things that I really enjoy about watching students participate in the CaNoRock field school, is that they use the same tools, the same processes and they go all through all of the same steps that we do on a full scientific rocket, but they do it much more quickly on a smaller scale. So this is a way for the students to get a broad introduction to all of the steps that are involved in a sounding rocket campaign, but instead of it taking years, they do it in a few days.