by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (SPX) Jul 13, 2012
A lightweight spacecraft with capabilities that punch above its weight could provide the perfect launching pad for a sustainable Australian space program, a leading engineer says. Dr Steven Tsitas from the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) at UNSW has developed an innovative system design for a new shoebox-sized spacecraft that enables night imaging and agricultural monitoring missions previously requiring much larger crafts.
With the right instrumentation, the 8-kilogram spacecraft known as the 6U CubeSat can perform some of the commercial earth-observation missions of 'microsatellites' that weigh around 100 kg and are roughly the size of a washing machine, he says.
"This 10-times size reduction should make the cost of producing a spacecraft 10-times cheaper - around $1 million versus $10 million," says Tsitas. "The cost may now be low enough to make it politically possible for Australia to establish a sustainable national space program."
"The worldwide space industry has annual revenue of $275 billion and a 9 per cent growth rate," he says. "This is perhaps the last chance for Australia to enter this high growth-rate industry in the capacity of designing and building its own spacecraft."
Researchers in the US developed the original one litre-volume CubeSat for educational purposes. The modified 6U version is slightly larger and rectangular in shape, meaning it has considerably more payload capacity for the inclusion of advanced instruments and cameras.
The system design described by Tsitas was developed in collaboration with Dr Jenny Kingston from Cranfield University in the UK.
Tsitas will chair a workshop at Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra on 17-18 July to explore the range of missions that are possible with the 6U CubeSat.
John Hines, the Chief Technologist for the NASA-Ames Research Centre, will be presenting and speaking on a panel titled: Can the 6U CubeSat form the basis of a sustainable Australian Space Program?
Event Details: 6U CubeSat Low Cost Space Missions Workshop - 17 - 18 July 2012; Mt Stromlo Observatory, Canberra
Register online here
AU Cubesat 2012
Microsat News and Nanosat News at SpaceMart.com
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
SST US collaborates with Virgin Galactic to offer radically cheaper options for small satellites
Englewood CO (SPX) Jul 12, 2012
Surrey Satellite Technology US LLC (SST-US) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Virgin Galactic optimizing Surrey's innovative satellites for Virgin's new launch vehicle, radically lowering the cost of building and launching small satellites. This MOU comes on the heels of Virgin Galactic's announcement of its new "LauncherOne" program, an unmanned rocket that will be air-l ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|