Tuesday was an historic day for Alberta, although the actual event took place in Florida. A locally-made satellite was launched into space from Cape Canaveral Tuesday morning.

“Our first indication that it was going was a plume of smoke just blowing out the back of the launch pad area,” Charles Nokes, project manager of the U of A satellite, who spoke to CTV News from Florida.

Nokes is among a number of students and staff at the University of Alberta, who spent the last seven years on the Ex-Alta-1 Project, Alberta’s first-ever satellite, which was built at the university.

“It was a very emotional moment,” Nokes said.

Nokes said he has been anticipating the moment for a long time.

“So many times throughout the years, it’s like: ‘Are we ever going to get here? Is it ever going to happen?’” Nokes said.

Back in March, it looked like the launch was going to happen, shortly after CTV News visited the lab at the U of A where students showed a replica of the satellite, but the launch was delayed until Tuesday.

Nokes and a number of others on the team travelled to Florida to watch the launch in person, but other team members were watching a live feed on the U of A campus, applauding once the rocket lifted off.

“I have to say my heart was pounding,” Physics professor Ian Mann said.

“To watch this thing launch from Cape Canaveral, the excitement, it’s absolutely palatable and I can feel it in this room, it’s absolutely amazing.”

The satellite is orbiting in spacecraft that will dock at the International Space Station, from there; it’s expected to be launched into space later this spring.

Once it has been launched, it will study space weather and phenomenon such as the Northern Lights over the next nine to eighteen months.

With files from Susan Amerongen