• Southern Launch and DEWC Systems are looking to launch a pioneering EW cubesat constellation. Credit: USAF
    Southern Launch and DEWC Systems are looking to launch a pioneering EW cubesat constellation. Credit: USAF

Defence electronic warfare company DEWC Systems and Southern Launch, an Australian outfit developing sovereign space launch capabilities, have agreed to work together in delivering the first fully Australian designed, developed, launched and operated Defence satellite system.

Under the Miniaturised Orbital Electronic Warfare Sensor System (MOESS) project, DEWC Systems will work with Southern Launch to be an early adopter of their satellite launch facilities at the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on the Eyre Peninsula and for use of the Southern Launch test ranges for R&D activities.

"We expect Whalers Way to become operational by the end of 2020," Lloyd Damp, CEO Southern Launch, said to ADM. "This timeline will work well for our planned operations with DEWC, and provide us with sufficient time to select the most appropriate launch vehicle to enable the first on-orbit MOESS demonstration."

The MOESS project aims to provide a space based Electronic Warfare (EW) capability, leveraging off the recent growth of the Australian space industry capability to utilise cubesats as a platform to make a cost effective and versatile capability.

DEWC Systems is expecting to undertake in-space testing in 2022.

"At this stage we anticipate being ready to prepare for space vehicle integration in 2021 with a view to be preparing for launch from mid 2022. These dates are estimates at this stage as we are only rounding the TRL 3 mark at the moment," Ian Spencer, CEO DEWC Systems, said to ADM. "There are numerous dependencies along the way including an effective growth path for local space industry to match our technology maturation requirements.

"DEWC Systems will work with Southern Launch well before the launch planning phase and has begun discussions around the use of their test range for MOESS development."

The MOESS satellites will enter polar Low Earth Orbits (LEOs) and provide worldwide coverage at a fraction of the cost of other launch sites.

In response to a question on the replacement rate for MOESS cubesats in LEO, Spencer said the company is working with Defence on constellation designs that maximise the satellites' life in orbit.

"The satellite orbits are currently being researched by our partners at DST Group at Edinburgh so we don’t have detailed answers for this as yet," Spencer said. "However, we are looking at constellation designs that retain relative orbital stability between orbital plains as the orbits decay. By designing uniformed decay into the constellation then we can extend the operational life of the overall system.

"The sensor receivers will be software definable and are designed to be upgradeable and reprogrammable to ensure that the MOESS remains adaptable to evolving operational needs.

"DEWC Systems seeks to establish a long term working relationship with Southern Launch so that an ongoing rhythm of testing and launching can be achieved through their facility."

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