Australian Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has announced the successful launch of the US-developed Biarri Point satellite to the International Space Station (ISS).
An Orbital ATK/Cygnus OA-7 cargo craft was launched on United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Biarri Point satellite.
The resupply mission launch was carried out by Nasa from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The US-built satellite carries a GPS technology payload, which was developed by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, and Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group.
Pyne said: “On its arrival, the crew of the ISS will load the Biarri satellite, along with other small satellites, into the launcher later to be deployed into their own orbits by early July.
“After the satellites launch from the ISS, the Biarri satellite will be switched on and commence its mission of less than one year.”
Biarri Point is a pathfinder mission in a defence-related project involving Australia, the US, Canada and the UK.
The project aims to develop a constellation of formation-flying satellites for a perceived military application.
Three-unit CubeSat forms part of the National Reconnaissance Office’s Colony-2 programme, providing CubeSat buses for military technology demonstration missions.
The resupply mission is also expected to support several new and existing investigations as Expeditions 51 and 52 contribute to approximately 250 science and research studies.
Pyne added: “The experiments are aimed at increasing our understanding of outer atmospheric effects on small satellites and improve our situation awareness of space.
“The 2016 Defence White Paper highlights the importance of space-based systems for information gathering, communications, navigation, and surveillance for all Australian Defence Force (ADF) and coalition operations.
“Advances in small low-cost space platforms provide a unique opportunity to support ADF capabilities and to rejuvenate Australian space research.”
Image: Orbital ATK’s seventh cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Photo: courtesy of Nasa TV.