When we talk about Space 2.0 we’re talking mostly about the ecosystem that has been created by Cubesats. Typical satellites are about the size of a bus and can cost billions of dollars to design, build and launch. Cubesats are much smaller, about the size of a loaf of bread and are orders of magnitude less expensive.
Cubesats measure 10x10x30cm for a “3 Unit” satellite
Standardisation of Cubesats into “units” allows for project teams to create a satellite that can be easily launched as simply as you can buy a half dozen or dozen eggs - you simply pick how many you want and everything is predictable.
Just like mobile phones have got smaller and more powerful so have satellites. Historically what we might have needed 300kg for we can now do with 3kg because modern processors are much more powerful. This is due to Moore’s Law; modern electronics pack a huge amount of functionality into a small package. When you then place this in orbit around earth and power it with solar panels we can reach all corners of our globe.
A satellite 400km up orbits around earth once every 92 minutes
“Andrew, your Space Telescope has arrived, did you want it in the lab?”
We are currently partway through building our first technology demonstrator 3U earth observation Cubesat.
Our demonstrator differs from other models in that it brings a whole lot of tricks together: 3D printing, single point diamond turning, intelligent sensors that money cannot buy and a clever team that (not-so) secretly is having a great deal of fun.
The technology and ideas do not always come from our minds. We are very interested in the vast resource of Australia’s Intellectual Property that exists within our academic, scientific and start-up communities. We are always looking for partner organisations and a supply chain that can enhance our capability and deliver future space based systems.
Australia is well positioned to deliver space systems and capability. The time is right as well with an Australian Space Capability Review underway that we have responded to and with one of the largest space conferences held in Adelaide this week, the momentum and appetite for space is high.
What will happen in the end? Time will tell but we are ready and well positioned to deliver space based systems and sensors for the future of Australia.