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Big thinkers create sovereign space technology

BAE Systems has designed, manufactured and tested an innovative earth observation CubeSat prototype – a type of miniature satellite for space research – including an integrated optical sensor and power supply. Our optical sensor is the only space telescope product designed and built wholly in Australia, providing not only a highly capable product demonstrator, but sovereign space capability for Australia.

The optical design provides high performance enabling us to capture images from significant distances, made possible by the optical sensor subsystem that uses ultra-precision mirror surfaces designed and manufactured specifically for the CubeSat form factor by our team at Edinburgh Parks, South Australia.
 
Cubesat in space.
 
The development of the optical sensor is dually innovative, in the intricacies and capability of the sensor itself and also the manufacturing process, which utilises metal 3D printing and Diamond Point Turning. This allows us to create a lightweight structure and then uses machine tools equipped with diamond tipped cutting tools and post polishing to produce high quality optical surfaces.
 
Bringing together our core technology portfolio and our Australian manufacturing capabilities, this prototype embodies our innovative and bold values. We are now planning to transition a true enduring and sovereign capability to design, manufacture and test space optical systems based on the outputs of this Australian research.
 
The design process was facilitated by an agile team from across the business and its success demonstrates how we can produce leading-edge solutions by leveraging our technology portfolio into adjacent growth areas aligned to our high technology Australian strategy.
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BAE Systems Australia 26 November 2018