Meet The Team


Franz T. Newland
York University

Zheng H. Zhu
Lead Investigator
York University

Anton de Ruiter
Ryerson University

Our Team Leads

My name is Jack Wawrow and I'm an undergraduate Space Engineering student at the Lassonde School of Engineering. I am the systems team lead as well as the project manager of the ESSENCE CubeSat mission. The systems team is responsible for integrating all of the work done by the various subsystems as well as setting the requirements that the mission has to meet. Currently, the systems team is working on carrying out the tasks in the Assembly, Integration, and Testing (AIT) phase, with support from the relevant subsytems.

My name is Jessie Atamanchuk and I'm a recent graduate of Space Engineering at York University. I am the communications team lead on the ESSENCE mission. This means that my team and I are working on all of the systems required for the satellite to communicate with the university. We are responsible for the onboard systems that will receive and transmit scientific data and satellite information to the ground. On the university campus, we are engineering an operations centre and ground station to receive satellite data and send out commands. An important task for the communications team is interfacing with Canadian and international radio organisations and ministries to get proper licensing for the space and ground segments.

My name is Matthew Olver and I’m an undergraduate student of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University. My position on the team is the mechanical team lead for the ESSENCE CubeSat mission. The team's tasks involve working on the CAD model of the satellite, designing manufactured components, conducting environmental testing and integrating all of the other sub-teams' work in to our satellite design. This is all done to ensure the highest mission success.

My name is Mastafa Awal and I'm an undergraduate student of Computer Engineering at York University. I am the software team lead on the ESSENCE mission. This means that my team and I are working on all of the mission software that is required for the satellite to be operational. We are responsible for facilitating communication with the ground station, controlling our payloads, and ensuring that the mission objectives can be met.

My name is Mike Alger and I have been working in the field of space system design since my graduate degree work at Ryerson University. Since 2009 I have gained experience with; satellite attitude modeling, guidance and control, planetary landing systems, generation and real time execution of C code from model based programming languages such as Matlab and MATRIXX, and robust control analysis based on linear fractional transforms. Upon returning from industry to study for a PhD, I have taken the role as ADCS lead for both the DESCENT and ESSENCE CubeSat missions and am using this opportunity to help undergraduate and graduate students learn how to develop software for ADCS and other automated systems.

Luke Bennett
Hey, I’m Luke! I’m a 4th year Electrical Engineering student here at Lassonde, as well as the electrical team lead at ESSENCE! Our team has worked to create the entire electrical system of the CubeSat, including custom PCBs, wiring harnesses, and a ton of other functional systems! We have worked closely with other teams since the project has started to ensure requirements are met, and the validity of certain systems are checked. This team is a lot of fun and is not just all about the work!