UNSW Canberra captures first image of the Buccaneer in orbit

This shot was taken against star streaks with our Falcon space surveillance tracking telescope.
6.12.17

UNSW Canberra Space has captured the first image of our satellite, the Buccaneer, in orbit.

UNSW Canberra Space Director Professor Russell Boyce said this shot was "taken against star streaks with our Falcon space surveillance tracking telescope”.

Professor Boyce said the double image of the satellite was caused by orbital elements.

The first joint UNSW Canberra Space/Defence Space Technology cube satellite was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in November.

The Buccaneer has attained a stable orbit and scientists and engineers have been able to successfully communicate with the spacecraft.

It is undergoing operations to check and commission its systems before undertaking risk mitigation activities and experiments in early 2018.

Buccaneer is one of five funded spacecraft at UNSW Canberra Space, in a flagship program established with a $10m internal investment.

A further three satellites are in early development.

November also saw the opening of Australia’s first national space mission design facility at UNSW Canberra.

The new Australian National Concurrent Design Facility complements the Australian National University’s spacecraft test facilities and means Canberra now has the capability to develop space missions from start to finish.

Professor Boyce said the Buccaneer would be the first of many UNSW Canberra missions.

He said the new facility would allow spacecraft design engineers and scientists to rapidly design and determine future space missions’ technical and economic viability.

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