Spacecraft made by students at Curtin University in Perth takes off from International Space Station

Australian-made spacecraft depart from the International Space Station in an 18-month orbit – before finally being sent to the moon

  • A satellite created at Curtin University in Perth has launched into space
  • Binar-1, named after the Noongar word for fireball, was sent into orbit on Sunday
  • It was launched aboard a SpaceX rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
  • The satellite will be deployed in low Earth orbit to capture WA’s coastline

A satellite made in Western Australia has launched into space for the first time.

Named after the Noongar word for fireball, Binar-1 was designed and built by 30 undergraduate students and engineers at Curtin University in Perth.

The small cube-shaped satellite weighs 1.5 kg and is made of 10 cm aluminum modules.

The device was scheduled to launch on Saturday aboard a SpaceX rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but bad weather delayed it until Sunday night, Perth time.

SSTC director Phil Bland holds Binar-1 (pictured) during the build process

SSTC director Phil Bland holds Binar-1 (pictured) during the build process

A small crowd gathered to cheer and count down to a live broadcast of the launch in Perth’s Yagan Square, where it will be played on a digital tower the following week.

The rocket carries supplies to the International Space Station.

About six weeks after Binar-1 reaches the station, it will be deployed into low Earth orbit where two cameras will be used to capture images of the WA coastline.

It will remain in orbit for 18 months.

Prime Minister Michael McGowan said the satellite “would transform WA’s space sector.”

30 undergraduate students and engineers from Curtin University in Perth built Binar-1, named after the Noongar word for fireball

30 undergraduate students and engineers from Curtin University in Perth built Binar-1, named after the Noongar word for fireball

30 undergraduate students and engineers from Curtin University in Perth built Binar-1, named after the Noongar word for fireball

“The successful launch of Binar-1 demonstrates that Western Australia is once again above its weight internationally – this time in space,” said WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan

“The successful launch of Binar-1 demonstrates that Western Australia is once again rising above its weight internationally – this time in space,” said Mr McGowan.

“It will help diversify our economy with an exciting new industry and create jobs in a new, highly skilled workforce with capabilities that can be easily transferred between space and our other key sectors, such as mining and resources.”

The researchers are working on two other larger satellites that they hope will help NASA return to the moon.

The first launch will be used to test the technology, but by 2025 it is hoped that Binar satellites will pass within 20 km of the lunar surface to map the moon’s geology, including minerals and ice deposits, in more detail.

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