WA’s first homegrown spacecraft ready for take-off

The Binar-1 will orbit Earth for around 18 months. PIC: Supplied

The countdown has begun to the launch of Western Australia's first space satellite.

The Binar-1 is the first satellite fully designed and built in Western Australia by a team of students and engineers at Curtin University’s Space Science and Technology Centre.

The satellite is scheduled to launch on a SpaceX rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral in the USA at 3:37pm on August 28 (AWST).

It will then make its way to the International Space Station (ISS) before being deployed into an orbit about 400km above the Earth's surface.

The satellite will circle the planet once every 90 minutes, sending images and data back to the surface and will be in orbit for about 18 months.

Binar-1 is roughly the size of a toaster and weighs 1.5kg. PIC: Supplied

Professor Phil Bland said the launch of Binar-1 was just the beginning, with greater goals on the horizon.

“The Binar Space Program has six more launches planned over the next 18 months," Professor Bland said.

"For context, in its history our nation has only flown 15 Australian-built spacecraft. Our novel design allows us to make spacecraft affordable, and space accessible for WA innovators.

“We will be able to control and command our missions from Perth through Fugro’s Australian Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC), which will use Binar cubesats to test remote operation protocols on a spacecraft in orbit.

“Our ultimate goal is to have a WA-built spacecraft at the Moon by 2025."

Premier Mark McGowan said Western Australia will make history with the State's first space mission.

“I am immensely proud of the students and engineers who have developed this amazing technology which opens so many doors for future missions and collaboration with the public and private sectors," Mr McGowan said.

“The Western Australian Government invested $500,000 into the Binar program and this launch demonstrates the importance of science, research and technology to the State economy and our role in the global space sector to create jobs of the future.”

The name Binar is the Noongar word for ‘Fireball’.

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