The CubeSat, named SUSat — launched early Wednesday morning — is one of three developed in Australia. It is part of an international collaborative project called QB50 to launch 50 climate science CubeSats to carry out atmospheric research within the lower thermosphere, approximately 400kms directly above Earth.
The satellites will be released via the International Space Station in the coming months, remaining in orbit for 12 to 18 months.
And, data will be collected from the CubeSat up to thrice a day via the University of South Australia’s Institute for Telecommunications’ ground station at Mawson Lakes.
More than 40 undergraduate students have been involved in the project across various faculties of the Universities of Adelaide and South Australia, including computer science, mechanical engineering and physics.
The students will continue to gather information from the CubeSat during its time in orbit, with all data collected available to all partners associated with the QB50 project.
The other Australian teams involved in the QB50 project are based at the Universities of New South Wales and Sydney.
South Australian Science and Information Economy Minister Kyam Maher says the launch of a South Australian-made satellite is a “remarkable achievement which will provide information that will be used by climate researchers around the world”.
“Through our defence industry and strong research and innovation community, South Australia is uniquely poised to further grow this space technology sector, through the manufacture of satellite buses and payloads.”
University of Adelaide’s School of Mechanical Engineering Research Fellow Dr Matthew Tetlow said: “It’s a fantastic milestone and a testament to the team. The whole project has been an invaluable and unique experience for the many students who have worked on it. It’s not every day student engineers get to help build a satellite to be launched by NASA.”