none

AUSTRALIA'S CUBESAT HAS LAUNCHED

08-06-2017
by 
in 

Aussie researchers from UNSW are eagerly awaiting the first results of their CubeSat launch. 

The CubeSat project, which we have covered before, is the first Australian satelite launch in 15 years. As part of a global effort, three Australian CubeSats have been sent to the International Space Station, two of which were built at the University of New South Wales. 

One of those satelites was 3D printed, and is intended as a comparative case study on the performance of 3D printed components in the harsh environment of space and Earth's upper atmosphere. 

The CubeSat’s chassis is made entirely from 3D printed thermoplastic, and if it does well, it may lead to many more 3D printed CubeSats in the future, as the manufacturing method is cheaper and allows for more customization.

There is more tension than expected, though: after launching the satelites from the ISS, there has been no confirmation signal. Engineers at UNSW’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) have been unable to pick up the signal meant to confirm that the CubeSat is operating properly.

“We’re not overly concerned yet,” said Elias Aboutanios, project leader of the UNSW-EC0 cubesat and deputy director of ACSER. “We’re troubleshooting a number of scenarios for why we didn’t detect it, from checking our ground equipment to exploring the possibility that the batteries might have discharged. But at the moment, we just don’t know.”

“If it is the batteries, the satellite has solar panels and will be able to recharge,” said Joon Wayn Cheong, a research associate at UNSW’s School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications and technical lead of the UNSW-Ec0 cubesat. “But because it was deployed in the Earth’s shadow, we have to wait for it to make a few orbits before it has recharged, especially if it’s tumbling. So it could be 24 to 48 hours.”

The International Space Station will make four more passes over Sydney on Friday, and the UNSW team will again try to make contact with the satellite and run a series of tests to try to determine why there’s been no signal so far.

In addition to testing the efficacy of 3D printing in space, the UNSW-Ec0 satellite will be conducting extensive research into the thermosphere, a region above the Earth about which little is known so far. The CubeSat will be studying the atomic composition of the region, as well as testing new computer chips and GPS devices created at the university.

Related news & editorials

  1. 22.09.2021
    22.09.2021
    by      In
    The Northern Territory (NT) Government in partnership with the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) has opened applications to the total $7.5 million Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem Fund (AMEF) as appreciation for local manufacturing rises in the Territory.
    The Fund delivers on the... Read More
  2. 22.09.2021
    22.09.2021
    by      In
    Towns split by interstate borders are used to living as one community so industries and businesses on the border face unique challenges.
    Therefore, The Victorian Government will deploy a team of locally based ‘Border Brokers’ to support industries and businesses impacted by restrictions on Victoria... Read More
  3. 22.09.2021
    22.09.2021
    by      In
    Popular snack foods; Kettle Chips, Thins, Cheezels and CC’s could soon be manufactured in a new premises in the Western suburbs.
    A $222 million development proposal could see the Snack Brands Australia warehouse and distribution centre on Distribution Drive in Orchard Hills expanded to include food... Read More
  4. 20.09.2021
    20.09.2021
    by      In
    Boeing and RMIT are joining forces in an exciting collaboration to develop local solutions for the manufacturing of space equipment.
    “Australia’s burgeoning space sector requires the production of complex, low volume, bespoke components not suited to conventional manufacturing techniques,” Boeing... Read More
Products
Suppliers