“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.
“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”.