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Grad’s mission to liftoff Nova Scotia’s space industry

Arad in a lab holding the LORIS satellite with lab workers in the background behind a glass wall.
Arad Gharagozli (Electronic Engineering Technology '15) working on the LORIS satellite.

From a young age, Arad Gharagozli (Electronic Engineering Technology '15) was fascinated by the technology in our atmosphere, often watching planes “float” in the sky.

Although his dream to become a pilot was not possible, Arad used his passion for technology to complete the Electronics Engineering Technology program at NSCC.

“There is something about electronics that is cryptic. It connects our physical world with our cyber reality,” says Arad.

After he furthered his education at Dalhousie University with a degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in mechanical engineering, he was able to follow his love of all things space-related with training at the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency in Belgium.

“Space is one of the easiest things to fall in love with – at least it was for me. I naturally got drawn into electronics in aerospace,” says Arad. “When I learned what we can do with satellites, that just blew my mind. I knew I found my niche. It was building things for space.”

Arad standing in front of a pull-up banner for the Canadian Space Agency.
Arad completed training with the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency.

Launching innovation

Going where no Nova Scotian has gone before, Arad has contributed significantly to the province’s aerospace industry.

As the project manager of a Rubik’s Cube-sized satellite named LORIS (Low Orbit Reconnaissance Imagery Satellite), Arad is part of a team that made history in November 2022.

“LORIS is the first satellite that was designed and manufactured entirely in Nova Scotia. It was also the first satellite that was launched into space which was built in Atlantic Canada,” says Arad, who also designed some of the on-board communications.

The satellite is a $200,000 project funded by the Canadian Space Agency. Its mission is to look at Nova Scotia’s peninsula and surrounding waters for a high-definition view of the shorelines and ocean life.

The four-year project was built in the Dalhousie Space Systems Lab, one of the largest not-for-profit space research organizations in Atlantic Canada, which Arad founded during his undergrad.

Arad is also the founder and CEO of GALAXIA Mission Systems, which is believed to be the only enterprise of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

“I started GALAXIA back in 2020. GALAXIA is a hardware and software company with the goal to modernize computation in space,” says Arad. “Right now, our team is working to pull resources together so we can launch our first commercial satellite constellation by 2025.”

The company received a historic $1.7 million in funding from the Canadian Space Agency to build and launch Atlantic Canada's first commercial satellite constellation.

Hardwired for entrepreneurship

Originally from Iran, Arad’s family moved to Halifax after he completed high school with the hope it would be a better place to establish their future. The married father of two is a natural entrepreneur and founded two technology companies on top of his space endeavours.

“A couple months after Covid started, I teamed up with an ER doctor, Dr. Stephen Beed. He saw a huge problem with patient handling,” explains Arad of the medical tech company he co-founded. “We built a system that can handle patient care, especially patients with respiratory issues.”

He also founded Scio Logica, a business-facing IT solution organization that helps implement cyber security strategies and measures.

“Scio Logica is serving several companies in our region,” says Arad. "It brings me back to my IT roots which, sort of feel like being back at home.”

Advocate for aerospace

With his mind in outer space, Arad dreams big – especially when it comes to technology and Nova Scotia’s space industry.

“I see tremendous value in the space sector which is seeing rapid growth. I don’t see why Nova Scotia can’t be a center for space exploration in North America.”

He adds, “We have geographical advantages, we have the skills and there are plenty of good reasons for our economy to focus on these high-tech sectors.”