WA’s first space satellite launched

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

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

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

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

A small crowd gathered to cheer and count down to a live broadcast of the launch at Yagan Square in Perth, where it will be replayed on a digital tower for next week.

The rocket transports supplies to the International Space Station.

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

It will remain in orbit for 18 months.

Premier Michael McGowan said the satellite will “transform the WA space segment”.

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

“This will help diversify our economy with an exciting new industry and create jobs in a new, highly skilled workforce with capabilities that are easily transferable between space and our other important sectors, such as mining and manufacturing. resources.”

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

The first launch is 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 in more detail, including minerals and deposits. of ice.

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