February 8, 1999: University of Waterloo scientist, Prof. Peter Bernath, is leading a $15-million international study on ozone depletion in the atmosphere, using data collected by an all-Canadian satellite to be launched in 2001. The new satellite, SCISAT-1, will be the first Canadian space science satellite since ISIS-2, which was launched in 1971 to study the upper atmosphere.
Bernath, a faculty member in UW's chemistry and physics departments, leads the project science team, which includes scientists from across Canada and from the United States, Japan, France, Sweden and Belgium. "The principal goal of the mission is to measure and understand the chemical and dynamical processes that control the distribution of ozone in the stratosphere," Bernath said, adding that the research focus will be on the decline of stratospheric ozone at northern mid-latitudes and in the Arctic. "Average ozone declines have been measured over much of Canada, using ground-based instruments," Bernath said. Since 1980, a six-per-cent decrease in the ozone has been recorded sparking fears of atmospheric and climatic changes that could threaten human health and safety.
SCISAT-1 will be launched in cooperation with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The mission will include the CSA satellite and one from NASA on a single launch vehicle, a Pegasus XL class rocket. The Pegasus is deployed during flight from a modified L-1011 airplane.