A SpaceX rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on August 28 with supplies for International Space Station. A small satellite will also travel on board, representing a significant leap into space for the research program in Western Australia.
The satellite, dubbed Binar-1 after Noongar term for “fireball,” was conceived and manufactured from the ground up by the Space Science and Technology Centre at the Curtin University.
They picked this name for two main reasons: honor the Noongar Nation’s Wadjuk people and commemorate the connection between the satellite strategy and the Desert Fireball Network of Curtin University, which has effectively hunted for meteorites in Australian desert.
Binar-1 is a CubeSat. This is a kind of small satellite comprised of 10-centimeter-long cube-shaped modules. Binar-1 is essentially a 1U CubeSat because it only has one of these modules.
Its primary goal is to demonstrate that the technology works in orbit, paving the way for future flights in which they want to deliver CubeSats to the Moon.
Binar-1 is fitted with 2 cameras with two goals: first, to capture Western Australia from space, thereby evaluating the performance of our equipment and, ideally, capturing the interest of young Western Australian students; and second, to photograph stars. The star camera will be able to precisely establish which direction satellite is facing, which is critical for any future Moon trip.
Their center is the southern hemisphere’s largest planetary research organization, and they collaborate on space missions with NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Japanese Space Agency. They need to create spacecraft to visit planets as well as other bodies in Solar System to comprehend them better. However, during most of the space era, the costs of developing and deploying this technology have become a substantial impediment to most countries’ participation.
Meanwhile, the growth of consumer electronics has resulted in smartphones that are far more sophisticated than computers from Apollo period. The cost of launching a tiny satellite is within the range of research groups and the start-ups, thanks to new launch choices. As a result, the market for the “COTS” (consumer off-the-shelf) satellite parts has exploded over the last decade.
Like previous Australian research groups, they began their voyage into space with a clear purpose in mind: to create devices that could detect blazing meteors from orbit. However, they rapidly discovered that purchasing satellite hardware for many trips would be prohibitively expensive.
But then they realized they had an advantage: our research group had previously built space observatories for the vast outback, like the Desert Fireball Network. This knowledge let them get a jump start on building their satellites from ground up.