Sydney uni team plans first satellite launch for next 12 months

Max Blenkin

Sydney University’s new satellite research and training organisation plans to launch its first satellite in the next 12 months.

Sydney uni team plans first satellite launch for next 12 months
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Professor Iver Cairns, director of the new Australian Research Council Training Centre for CubeSats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles and their Applications (CUAVA), said their satellite was to be called CUAVA-1.

Its purpose is to certify advanced communication, remote sensing, GPS, and space environment instruments in order to provide their data to users on Earth.

“Within the next year we will be launching our first satellite and new instruments into orbit, and performing our first uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAV) campaign,” he said at the official launch of CUAVA this week.

“We are thrilled to be working with our 11 partners, including three industry partners, four government labs, and three Australian universities and two American universities. We have five PhD students and four Postdoctoral fellows engaged and making exciting progress on our research and commercialisation projects.”

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CUAVA is working to train the next generation of workers in commercial space and conduct research to develop the Australian space industry. It was officially opened by Senator Arthur Sinodinos who as industry minister launched the review which resulted in formation the Australian Space Agency.

Australian Research Council chief executive Professor Sue Thomas said that the council was proud to support the new training centre as it would be sure to boost capacity and capabilities in the Australian space industry.

“The applications of CubeSats and Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles will have great importance to the Australian economy, improving satellite communications and observations, and making space more accessible than ever before,” she said.

For its first satellite launch, CUAVA signed an agreement in March with Japanese space start-up Space BD for satellite deployment services from the International Space Station.

After being selected as a commercial service provider by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Space BD has grown rapidly. The agreement with CUAVA was their first overseas contract for end-to-end launch and deployment services.

“Signing this launch contract with Space BD is a crucial and very exciting step forward for CUAVA and all our students and partners,” Professor Cairns said at the time.

“We look forward to a long-term partnership with Space BD and to the CUAVA-1 CubeSat enabling major progress on our research and commercialisation projects.”

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