Binar-1 finally lived up to its name, being the Noongar word for “fireball”, as it blazed across the Australian sky for a brief period as it burned up in the atmosphere.
The satellite was launched in 2021 on 29 August, hitching a ride on a SpaceX resupply mission heading towards the ISS. From there, the Binar CubeSat was deployed from the Space Station’s Kibō module.
A team of engineers and PhD students from the Space Science and Technology Centre at Curtin University were responsible for the construction of the small CubeSat.
Binar-1’s primary mission goal was a technology demonstration. The satellite is using a novel and innovative design that had not yet been tested in space. The design involves all satellite systems being integrated into a single circuit board that is the heart of the spacecraft.
While not all aspects of the mission were a success, the core goal of demonstrating the capabilities of the technology in space was achieved.
The Binar-1 satellite is part of the larger Binar Space Program run by Curtin University in Western Australia. The program was recently selected to receive a significant funding boost from the West Australian government.
Curtin’s team plans to launch a total of seven Binar satellites across three launches. The second launch will ferry the Binar-2, Binar-3 and Binar-4 satellites to orbit. The team also has ambitious plans for their other launch project, the Binar “Prospector” which will include two 6U lunar orbiters.
The Prospector mission is explicitly designed to meet the objectives of the Australian Space Agency’s “Moon to Mars” initiative. The planned timing of the mission will also coincide with NASA’s planned return to the moon with its series of Artemis missions.
The Binar team has been hard at work since the launch of their first satellite, with plans to integrate a new communications technology into their future satellites, using a unique optical space communications system. It will be the first time such a system will be used in a 1U CubeSat.
The Binar team partnered with Californian company Chascii for the integration of the system into the CubeSat, which will use lasers to transmit data from the satellite back to Earth.
Eventually, the Binar team hopes to achieve a successful re-entry of one of its satellites to Earth. To this end, the team has begun developing a tracking system to identify when and where each of the satellites will re-enter in the hope that they can retrieve it.
Liam McAneny is a journalist who has written and edited for his University International Relations journal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2021. He joined Momentum Media in 2022 and currently writes for SpaceConnect and Australian Aviation. Liam has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations as well as astronomy.
Send Liam an email at: [email protected]
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