Friday, 08 June 2018 10:48

Aussie nanosatellites to boost future Defence capabilities, says Pyne

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Aussie nanosatellites to boost future Defence capabilities, says Pyne UNSW Canberra scientists working on a Cubesat. Photo courtesy of UNSW Canberra

CubeSat nanosatellites developed by the University of New South Wales Canberra Space Centre will provide new ways to enhance Australia’s future Defence space capability by gathering remote sensing information with radios and cameras, according to Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.

“These versatile small satellites have re-programmable software-defined radios on board, and can change their purpose mid-mission, greatly improving their functional capabilities for multiple uses by Defence,” Pyne said after a tour of the Canberra facility.

The M1 CubeSat is one of three under development by engineers and researchers at University of New South Wales Canberra Space, under a $10 million contract signed with the RAAF in November 2017. The second and third satellites 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.”

The Federal Government says the first Australian Space Agency — to be located at the Canberra Space — will help businesses win a greater share of the multi-billion dollar global space market and underpins a new industry with the potential to create 20,000 jobs.

The government also says Australia has strong capability in space-related industries and is a world leader in automated mining and precision agriculture, with an “immense expertise as an advanced manufacturing nation”.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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