UNSW's state-of-the-art CubeSat satellite is going through the final testing phase before its planned launch in September this year.
The M1 CubeSat is one of three under development by engineers and researchers at UNSW Canberra Space, under a $10 million contract signed with RAAF in November 2017. The second and third are set for launch in 2019 in a formation known as M2.
According to Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, the CubeSat will gather remote sensing information with radios and cameras. The spacecraft have re-programmable software-defined radios on board, and can change their purpose mid-mission to enable multiple uses by Defence.
“Small, low-cost satellites like M1 provide a unique opportunity to support Australian Defence Force capabilities and to rejuvenate Australian space industry," Minister Pyne said.
“The Government is investing significantly in space-related projects for Defence over the next two decades. Over $300 million is already committed in this year’s budget to establish the Australian Space Agency which will drive Australia’s involvement in space, and to develop national space-related infrastructure.
“These space missions will also deliver research and educational outcomes for Defence and civilian students studying engineering at UNSW Canberra, forming an important part of building our space capability for the future.”
UNSW launched its first miniature satellite, the Buccaneer, into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California last year.