A cube-sat developed in Canberra to demonstrate state-of-the-art space technology is going through the testing phase in preparation for its planned launch in early 2021.
The M2 cube-sat, a collaboration with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), is the third of three developed by UNSW Canberra Space, under a $10 million contract.
This testing follows the successful launch and mission operations to date, of the M2 Pathfinder cube-sat last month.
UNSW Canberra Space Director Russell Boyce said the M2 satellite builds on the work of M2 Pathfinder and will be used for maritime surveillance as well as demonstrations of sensors, communications and on-board processing.
This satellite will split into two in orbit, and demonstrate formation flying technologies as well.
Boyce said: “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 and civilian users alike.”
Testing began in early June and will continue throughout the year to ensure the cube-sat is ready for launch.
M2 Mission Lead, Andrin Tomaschett, said: “So far we have tested how the electronics in the satellite operate in extreme hot and cold temperatures which is conducted in a Thermal Cycling Chamber at facilities at the Australian National University’s Mount Stromlo.
“This was followed by vibration testing where the satellite was placed on a shaker table. The table replicates the intense shaking that M2 will endure on launch.”
One of the final tests will be a pressure test which is conducted in a vacuum chamber.
Picture: UNSW Canberra Space