M1 CubeSat satellite almost ready for launch

Friday, 08 June, 2018

M1 CubeSat satellite almost ready for launch

The M1 CubeSat satellite at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra campus is on schedule to be launched in September this year.

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne toured the university’s space centre and viewed the satellite, which is currently going through its final testing phase.

“This Canberra-developed spacecraft will provide new ways to enhance Australia’s future Defence space capability by gathering remote sensing information with radios and cameras,” Pyne said.

“These versatile small satellites have reprogrammable software-defined radios on board and can change their purpose mid-mission, greatly improving their functional capabilities for multiple uses by Defence.”

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.

“Small, low-cost satellites like M1 provide a unique opportunity to support Australian Defence Force capabilities and to rejuvenate Australian space industry,” 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.”

Image caption: A set of CubeSats is photographed by an International Space Station Expedition 38 crew member. Credit: NASA

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