It is the multi-million dollar satellite that will collect invaluable data from space once it goes out into the cosmos.
But the pieces of the puzzle that make up the $6.5 million CubeSat mission dubbed Kanyini have so far been scattered across labs and workshops in South Australia.
Leading South Australian aerospace companies have sourced their components and brought them together for the first time.
It’s an important milestone for the Kanyini satellite, which will land aboard the SpaceX Transporter next year. Once launched into low Earth orbit, it will be Australia’s first state-based satellite.
Aerospace Company Inovor TechnologiesInternet of Things provider Myriota and research cooperative SmartSat CRC have worked on the space project from their offices in Lot fourteenan innovation and space district in the heart of Adelaide.
Working with the South Australian government, data collected from the satellite’s three-year solar synchronous orbital mission will inform future space missions and help improve state services such as emergency services and environmental monitoring.
SmartSat CRC leads the mission. The company’s satellite systems manager, Nick Manser, says merging all the components into an integrated flatsat, or test satellite, is a “major milestone” for the project.
“Up until now, everyone has worked independently on their components, but we have now reached an important milestone, where we will connect everything together in a lab for the first time,” says Manser.
“We’re starting a test campaign to make sure all that equipment works well together and that it works when we send it into space.”
The project is a six-unit CubeSat, about the size of a shoebox and weighing about 12 kg.
The satellite has two payloads on board, one for Earth observation and the other an Internet of Things (IoT) payload. The IoT payload allows the Myriota network to talk to sensors and devices on Earth.
Inovor Technologies has also created a custom satellite bus called “Apogee” after years of development. The satellite platform includes power, telemetry, pointing and mission control systems, all packaged in a lightweight structure.
SmartSat CRC has purchased a small hyperspectral camera mounted on the satellite that powers the Earth observation payload.
The Dutch-built HyperScout 2 Flight Model instrument has sensors that allow it to capture images of the planet’s changing surface.
When launched next year, the satellite will orbit 500 km above Earth and allow people at home to monitor water quality, crop health and resilience to wildfires.
Manser says SmartSat CRC was attracted to the hyperspectral camera because of its onboard processing power, which is an important part of modern space missions.
Satellites would usually downlink collected data to Earth before it could be analyzed. However, he says this piece of technology can do the calculation on board.
“We have researchers already exploring how to use this kind of information for things like smoke detection for wildfires, monitoring fuel conditions in our eucalyptus forests to improve our response to and preparedness for wildfires, and monitoring coastal water quality in the region. inland,” says Manser.
“We have some research projects that are going to help power data from this satellite and we can give that communication back to the South Australian government so they can improve the way they can serve the South Australian community.”
South Australia has become the hub of the Australian space industry, with over 100 space-related organizations, the Australian Space Agency Headquarters, the Australian Mission Control Center and the Australian Space Discovery Center all calling Adelaide home.
The Kanyini satellite is a South Australian government initiative that strengthens the competitiveness of local businesses in the small satellite supply chain and builds capacity to support the National Space Mission for Earth Observation.
“The mission will give partner organizations the opportunity to develop new technologies so that they can then test them in space and it will also give us experience operating these instruments in space and that will help us inform future space missions,” says manser.
Kanyini is a Pitjantjatjara word that describes the ‘principle of responsibility and unconditional love for all creation’. The name was suggested by students at Findon High School in Adelaide’s western suburbs as part of a competition to name the satellite.
Manser says it was essential to keep kids interested in the development of space and advancements in this type of technology.
“It is very important to emphasize that the Kanyini project is not just about the construction industry,” he says.
“It’s about engaging the next generation and inspiring them about future opportunities in space and demonstrating the impact of space data on everyday life.”