Monday, March 18, 2013

The Biarri Cubesat Project - Australia’s next Satellite contribution?

The Biarri Cubesat project, is a four nation project involving Australia, the US, the UK and Canada. In Australia, the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) is working closely with BAE Systems, ACSER at the University of NSW, the Australian National University and Electro Optic Systems (EOS).

The project will see three, 3-Unit Cubesats launched by the United States in 2014, and involves precision flying experiments, which will also be tracked by EOS in Australia using their laser tracking system.

As part of the project, the US is providing the launch facilities and satellite bus, the UK is providing the communications links, Canada is providing the ground station infrastructure and Australia is providing the space-qualified L1-only GPS receiver, which BAE Systems has already qualified in its testing facilities. The FPGA based GPS receivers are designed to measure the precise relative positions of the Cubesats in their low earth orbit.

DSTO’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division (ISRD) is leading the charge from the government front, with BAE Systems from Edinburgh Parks in South Australia leading on the industry side.

The Biarri project will use the Colony II Cubesat bus, which is a US NRO program, with Boeing currently building the satellite bus. No doubt through the Biarri project, DSTO will gain some very good insight into designing, developing, launching and operating a satellite, which bodes well for their future capabilities in small satellites.

DSTO is also apparently also working on another, higher Australian content Satellite called Bucaneer – together with BAE Systems. It will feature a Space Based Miniaturised High Frequency radar payload, and is likely to have a US supplied spacecraft bus.

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