M1 satellite on track for September launch

UNSW Canberra

The Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, has toured UNSW Canberra Space to view the M1 CubeSat which is going through the final testing phase before its planned launch in September this year.

The Canberra developed spacecraft will provide new ways to enhance Australia’s future Defence space capability by gathering remote sensing information with radios and cameras.

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. The M1 CubeSat is one of three under development by engineers and researchers at UNSW Canberra Space, under a $10 million contract signed with RAAF in November 2017. The second and third 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.

The Australian 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.