Cubesats, solid motors and a major launch objective

The year has been quite busy so far.

Firstly, we have moved into our former offices at Incubate. This is located within Wentworth Building of USYD. Very good place that is currently quiet and spacious but once more tenants enter, it will become crowded. We’ve moved some of our hardware and tools into the office for now, but trying to keep things clean as we expect to be moving. There is someone in the office typically Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If you are interested to say hi, let us know through the contact page on our website.


Secondly, you may have noticed the website looks different. That’s because we’ve moved it onto Squarespace. Whilst having the full control of managing a website using Wordpress is a nice to have, the level of time needed to maintain the website whilst also working on a difficult 3rd party template just eventually led us to migrating to a web builder type service. So far has been a good experience. The key is we want to use the shopping capabilities more extensively than last year. We are aiming to introduce new ‘products’ such as more swag, but also making a very easy launch booking platform.

Thirdly, we have a new launch mission. Currently, the mission is still being developed however we are very excited at the prospect of flying to a very high altitude whilst testing out the regulations of launch from Australia’s Space Agency. More to come on this soon. We have a tentative name called Mission to the 99s. Because we’re going to 99km!

Finally, we will be trialing a cubesat and launch workshop. Space Ops started because I was interested in cubesats but after digging into project planning that I found the launch process was going to be very expensive. Of course, this was now four or five years ago and times have changed slightly with the introduction of payload aggregation services that also provide what I like to call orbit hopping.

I see a lack of hands on workshops relating to space within Australia. Then more specifically with cubesats, existing programs only deliver services to specialised schools or typically a club led program within Universities. As an adult working but also studying, I see a clear lack for the everyday person or at home tinkerer to self learn on space and satellite technology.

Our work on the cubesat workshop will provide each participant or group of participants a lightweight cubesat kit powered with Arduinos and several sensors. During a one day event, we will do presentations on space, the industry being developed within Australia, and then begin the process of breaking down what makes a satellite. The cubesat is a good hands on platform to demonstrate the technologies. Through instructed session, the participants would assemble and then program the boards. When complete, we make each build go through a small shake table and test for quality of construction.

The next step is still being discussed but it would involved launching one of these cubesats on a model rocket at NSWRA in Whalan. This either happens as a raffle of a hat draw, or we make it objective based. The objective will be to make the lightest weight cubesat without compromising mission requirements. A critical concept as we now focus on project viability given launch is a $/kg model.

Operations wise, I’ll be out looking for funding. We have a big opportunity to truly test out Australia as a launch service nation. There are so many participants to make a launch happen, it’s much like working an orchestra. As funding is built up, I hope to begin further recruitment.

Patrick Wang