US-developed Biarri Point satellite launched into orbit


Australian Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has announced that the Biarri Point cube satellite has been successfully deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) into its own orbit.

The US-developed satellite carrying a GPS technology payload was launched to ISS in April.

The GPS technology payload was developed by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, and Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group.

According to Pyne, the Namaru GPS technology is the first fully Australian and New Zealand-developed GPS payload for a cube-satellite.

Pyne said: “The Namuru GPS technology is on-orbit and is successfully functioning correctly, providing significant research benefits.

“It is conducting a range of experiments aimed at increasing our understanding of outer atmospheric effects on small satellites, and improving our situational awareness of space.”

The satellite has been deployed from the space station’s Nano Racks into its own orbit, a move that comes following the recent announcement of the Australian Government to review its space industry capability.

Pyne added: “The 2016 Defence White Paper highlights the importance of space-based systems for information gathering, communications, navigation and surveillance for all Australian Defence Force and coalition operations.

"Advances in small low-cost space platforms provide a unique opportunity to support Australian Defence Force capabilities and to rejuvenate Australian space research."

“Advances in small low-cost space platforms provide a unique opportunity to support Australian Defence Force capabilities and to rejuvenate Australian space research.”

Biarri Point is a pathfinder mission in a defence-related project involving Australia, the US, Canada, and the UK, according to NASASpaceflight.

The project intends to develop a constellation of formation-flying satellites for a military application.

This three-unit CubeSat forms part of the National Reconnaissance Office’s Colony-2 programme, providing CubeSat buses for military technology demonstration missions.


Image: An artist's impression of Biarri Satellite in space. Photo: courtesy of the Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.