An Australian-made satellite was launched into space from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday.
CUAVA-1 is the lead project of the University of Sydney-led ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles and their applications (CUAVA.)
The three kilogram satellite travelling on a SpaceX rocket contains four operating research instruments which will be used to measure radiation, observe Earth, link with the international radio union, and test equipment for a future mission searching for signs of life on planets around Alpha Centauri, the closest star to Earth.
The stated mission is “Scientific research, technology demonstration, linking with the international radio amateur community, national capacity building.”
CUAVA-1 is expected to be deployed, at about 400 kilometres up, from the International Space Station early next year or in late-2021. The mission is scheduled to run for a year, with the craft then burning up in the upper atmosphere at about 80 kilometres altitude.
“This project is significant for the Australian space sector and will grow our research capability in the cutting-edge industry of commercial space and unmanned aerial vehicles,” said education minister Alan Tudge in a statement.
“The centre is also helping to train a new generation of researchers and workers in this critical industry.”
CUAVA was established in 2019 with $4.6 million of Australian Research Council funding and $1.2 million from partner organisations.
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