Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, today announced the successful launch of an Australian miniature satellite from the United States.
The Buccaneer cube satellite, developed by Defence and the University of New South Wales, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a Delta-II rocket and communications have now been established.
Minister Payne congratulated the team on the successful launch.
“Small, low-cost satellites like Buccaneer provide a unique opportunity to support Australian Defence Force capabilities and to rejuvenate Australian space research,” Minister Payne said.
“Buccaneer is designed to improve understanding of the outer atmosphere, in particular the Ionosphere, which plays a key role in Australia’s world-leading Over-the-Horizon radar capability.”
Buccaneer’s first mission is to test key technologies in preparation for the main mission in a few years when it will perform calibration activities for the Jindalee Over-the-Horizon Operational Radar Network.
Minister Payne said the 2016 Defence White Paper highlights space research and space-based systems as an important part of Australia’s Defence capability and national security.
“The Government will invest significantly in space-related projects for Defence over the next two decades and it has made a commitment to establish a national space agency to drive Australia’s involvement in space,” Minister Payne said.
The successful launch of the Buccaneer cube satellite coincides with the 50th anniversary of Australia’s first satellite, the Weapons Research Establishment Satellite (WRESAT).