Colin Franklin remembers the challenge of starting from scratch to build the Alouette-1 satellite which launched Canada as a space-faring nation 50 years ago.
When it went into orbit in 1962, Canada became the third country in the world, after the then-Soviet Union and the United States, to have a satellite in space.
At 31, Franklin was chief electrical engineer and the oldest member of the team in 1959 when work began on the satellite to signal the beginning of Canada's space history.
"Most people working on the project were younger than that," Franklin said in an interview. "I remember somebody sarcastically commenting that we were the farm team."
Alouette-1 was launched by NASA from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept. 29, 1962. Franklin says that from the very start, the project had its doubters, with many experts considering it too ambitious.
"The spacecraft was complex and exceptionally advanced for the technology of the time," he said. ''In fact NASA considered it too advanced for the available technology. NASA was skeptical the thing would work, but nevertheless they supported us."
The Canadian Press