Science

Australian-made satellites launch into space from Kennedy Space Station on board SpaceX rocket

Australia’s first WA-grown satellite was launched into space this weekend onboard a SpaceX Dragon rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Binar-1 CubeSat, which was worked at Curtin University in Western Australia and gets its name from the Noongar word for ‘fireball’, is presently in transit to the International Space Station, from where it will be released into orbit.

As indicated by Curtin’s Space Science Technology Center, this denotes the first time a WA-built satellite has been launched into space.

Director of Curtin’s Space Science Technology Center Professor Phil Bland said the Binar Space Program intends to launch six additional satellites over the next 18 months, yet this is still the start.

“For context, in its history, our nation has only flown 15 Australian-build spacecraft,” Professor Bland said.

“Our novel design allows us to make spacecraft affordable and space accessible for WA innovators.”

Additionally, not only are the satellites being inherent WA however space missions will be controlled and commanded from Perth through Fugro’s Australian Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC).

Professor Bland said a definitive objective is to have WA-built rocket at the Moon as ahead of schedule as 2025.

“The launch of Binar-1 is our step towards that goal,” he said.

Once in orbit, the Binar-1 satellite will take pictures of stars and the WA coastline and relay them back to mission control on Earth.

Likewise onboard the SpaceX rocket was a satellite planned and built in Sydney as part of the Australian Research Council Training Center for CubeSats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles, and their Applications (CUAVA), which is partly funded by the government.

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge said the launch of the satellites is a “great display of Australian research on the world stage”.

“It is another example of the power of research commercialisation, with the Government’s $4.8 million in funding laying the foundation for researchers to partner with local and global businesses,” Minister Tudge said.

“This project is significant for the Australian space sector and will grow our research capability in the cutting-edge industry of commercial space and unmanned aerial vehicles.”

The two satellites launched on the weekend are known as Cubesats: small, lightweight rectangular boxes packed full of high-tech equipment.

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