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Bushfire-detecting Kanyini passes pre-launch tests

SA’s bushfire-detecting Kanyini satellite is edging closer to launch after successfully completing a series of trials designed to determine whether it can withstand the rigours of space.

The “Environmental Stress Screening” (ESS) involved exposing the low-Earth orbit (LEO) spacecraft to “extreme temperature variations”, intense vibrations, and “crushing vacuum conditions” ahead of its planned blast-off later this year.

The project is a unique collaboration between the South Australia state government, SmartSat CRC, satellite manufacturer Inovor Technologies, and global IoT provider Myriota.

Kanyini’s payload will include a hyperspectral imager – a device that analyses the composition of materials on Earth from space.


It will be used to detect information beyond the visible eye, including analysing vegetation and soil to a granular degree and detecting bushfire smoke.

Inovor founder and chief executive officer Dr Matt Tetlow said, “The stellar results from the ESS not only validate the meticulous testing processes we’ve implemented but also exemplify the steady commitment of our team in producing world-class technology.”

Kanyini will be launched onboard SpaceX’s Transporter-11 mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California in mid-2024.

The 6U CubeSat is about the size of a cereal package and will also contain a payload for internet-enabled communications.


SmartSat CEO Professor Andy Koronios previously spoke about the bushfire-specific uses of Kanyini.

“Securing the launch with ISILAUNCH [a Dutch launch provider] is another exciting step for the Kanyini mission which will pioneer sovereign technology in projects such as OzFuel, which will gather real-time data, monitor potentially hazardous conditions specific to Australia’s eucalypt-dominant bushland, and improve our bushfire preparedness, response and resilience,” he said.

“Other real-world applications of the data collected by Kanyini include satellite image-based smoke detection for bushfire mitigation and monitoring inland and coastal water qualities.

The mission’s objectives, which are designed to benefit the Australian people, are reflected in the name given to the satellite.

“Kanyini” is a term from the Pitjantjatjara language describing the concept of “the principle of responsibility and unconditional love for all of creation”.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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