none

AUSSIE NANO-SATELITE READIED FOR NASA LAUNCH

24-04-2017
by 
in 
Project lead Matthew Tetlow (above) working on the CubeSat.

NASA will soon launch an Australian nano-satellite into space to study the earth’s atmosphere.

The miniature CubeSat was developed by the University of Adelaide in South Australia and will be sent to the International Space Station onboard NASA’s Atlas V rocket.

It is one of 50 different CubeSats from around the world that will be dispersed from the International Space Station next month to explore the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

The satellite is about the size of a “loaf of bread” and includes a number of sensors to help study the particles of in the thermosphere, a layer of atmosphere stretching between 95km to 500km from the earth’s surface.

This research will be used to better understand earth’s climate and how the thermosphere affects re-entry of large spacecraft, such as the Space Station.

Project lead Matthew Tetlow said there had not been significant research done on the thermosphere and the University of Adelaide nano-satellite would play a key role in unlocking some of its mysteries.

“With large space stations, they have to bring them down through the atmosphere eventually and when you have something that big it’s important to know exactly where they will land. This hasn’t been studied historically very well,” he said.

“When you talk about nano-satellites you’re talking about Space 2.0 … it’s another opportunity for Australia to develop its space agency and get back into the space race.

“Normal satellites can be the size of a bus but CubeSats are the size of a loaf of bread – Along with its standardised interface, it will reduce costs from tens of millions of dollars to tens of thousands.”

The CubeSat sensors will study the density of particles in the upper atmosphere as well as measure for water vapour and oxygen.

The project was funded by South Australia Government’s Premier Research and Industry Fund, The Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith Fund, Inovor Technologies, the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia, with in-kind support from BAE Systems Australia, Vitech and ITP Engines UK.

The launch will be aired live on NASA TV with a launch window of 12.41am to 1.11am Adelaide time, Wednesday 19 April.

South Australia has a long history in the space industry, which started when the Woomera Test Range was established in 1947 about 450km north of Adelaide.

The outback range is still used and last year launched an experimental rocket flight as part of a joint research program, HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program).

In October 2016, South Australia and the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) agreed to jointly pursue space-related industries.

In September, the state’s capital Adelaide will host over 3000 delegates from around the world at the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

Last week, the Federal Government agreed to advocate for the establishment of an Australian Space Agency based in Canberra, with South Australia as its operational centre.

South Australian Minister for Defence Martin Hamilton-Smith said the creation of an Australian Space Agency with an operational centre in Adelaide would be highly beneficial to the national economy.

“South Australian universities and their students will benefit from increased international R&D partnerships and research opportunities with flow through to STEM activities in our secondary schools. The space industry will provide high value jobs for young South Australians,” he said.

“Similar to the defence industry, the space sector will deliver opportunities for manufacturers to transition to a high technology, high growth sector.

“Increasing the focus on the space sector with the establishment of a national agency will be a fantastic way to increase Australia’s share and grow our economy.”

Related news & editorials

  1. 20.08.2018
    20.08.2018
    by      In
    Luxaflex Window Fashions is one of the latest manufacturers to take action against rising energy costs, revealing a 2080-strong solar panel installation on the roof of its Sydney manufacturing facility.
    Reckoned to be the world’s largest installation of Sunpower P19 panels, the solar array will... Read More
  2. 20.08.2018
    20.08.2018
    by      In
    The government’s support for the defence industry looks to be bearing fruit, with Defence Export Controls revealing a 25% increase in the number of defence and dual-use export permit applications received in the last quarter of 2017–18 compared with the same period in 2016-2017.
    Minister for... Read More
  3. 16.08.2018
    16.08.2018
    by      In
    Following extensive growth of the business, Beacon Solar (a division of Beacon Lighting Group) has changed its business (trading) name to Beacon Energy Solutions.
    Beacon Solar has been in the energy efficiency/solar market for more than 10 years, with the business initially offering residential... Read More
  4. 15.08.2018
    15.08.2018
    by      In
    BHP’s new $4.8 billion South Flank iron ore mine in the Pilbara is expected to create about 2500 jobs during construction and 600 ongoing roles. But local fabricators are quire rightly up in arms about the company’s decision to award the contract for 20,000 tonnes of structural steel work to... Read More