Defence Partners with UNSW for Space Research

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Senator the Hon Marise Payne

Minister for Defence

Media contact
  • Henry Budd (Minister Payne’s office) 0429 531 143
  • Defence Media (02) 6127 1999

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18 October 2016

Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne announced today that Defence has commenced an innovative space research program using miniature satellites.

Space mission ‘Buccaneer’ is a partnership between Defence Science and Technology Group and UNSW Canberra that will conduct calibration activities for the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) as well as undertake outer atmosphere characterisation experiments.

Defence will also participate in multi-national space mission ‘Biarri’ to support GPS and space situational awareness experiments.

Minister Payne said the research missions will leverage Australia’s niche expertise and reinvigorate Australia’s space engineering capability.

“Advances in small, low-cost space platforms provide a unique opportunity to support Australian Defence Force capabilities and our international partners, and to rejuvenate Australian space research,” Minister Payne said.

“Through this partnership we are helping to bring home leading Australian space researchers and building a sovereign Australian space capability right here in Canberra.”

The 2016 Defence White Paper highlights the importance of space-based systems for information gathering, communications, navigation, and surveillance for all ADF and coalition operations.

Both satellite missions will use miniature satellites called ‘cubesats’, which are made up of 10x10x10cm cubes typically weighing less than 5kg. The ‘cube’ building blocks can be configured in various combinations tailored to mission-specific payloads.

“The Buccaneer and Biarri projects are designed to support the ADF’s use of space-based capabilities and for the conduct of relevant research.

“Through the Defence Science and Technology Group, Defence can promote an Australian space science and engineering sector to take advantage of the new opportunities provided by small satellites.

“The launch of the Buccaneer and Biarri missions is a step toward achieving this goal,” Minister Payne said.

Further Information:

Defence Minister’s office – Henry Budd 0429 531 143

Defence Media – (02) 6127 1999

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