Australia launching into space again

10 August 2016

Ahead of its launch from the International Space Station, the University of Sydney and collaborators celebrate the shipment of the INSPIRE-2 cube-sized satellite overseas.

A photo of the INSPIRE-2 CubeSat.

The INSPIRE-2 CubeSat.

The INSPIRE-2 CubeSat will now be packed and shipped for Europe, following recent approval by Minister Greg Hunt for its release.

At a send off at the University on Tuesday 9 August, INSPIRE-2 project lead Professor in Space Physics Iver Cairns and others spoke briefly about INSPIRE-2, its team and the European Union QB50 launch of 50 CubeSats to conduct integrated space research studies.

Components of INSPIRE-2 were designed and developed at the University’s Schools of Physics and of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. The event also celebrated the shipment of the UNSW-ECO cubesat, designed and built by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) for the same QB50 project.

A photo of Jiro Funamoto, Professor Iver Cairns and Wayne Peacock.

Primary builder of the craft PhD student Jiro Funamoto, Professor Iver Cairns and Electronics Engineer Wayne Peacock, with INSPIRE-2.

“This is a major milestone in space research for the team and Australia,” Professor Cairns said.

Professor Cairns noted the collaborative nature of the project, and the series of firsts it represented: “We expect our satellites to be the first Australian satellites launched from a space station, our first CubeSats in orbit, the first Australian-built space craft for an international project, and the first Australian-built space craft in space for 15 years.”

Dean of Science Professor Trevor Hambley congratulated the team, including the University’s Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering and IT and Office of General Counsel together with colleagues from UNSW and the Australian National University (ANU).

This small device displays some of Australia’s best abilities in high tech R&D, and demonstrates the capacity of Australia’s universities and our nation more generally to engage in the challenges and opportunities of space science. The departure of this CubeSat has established a pathway for continuing endeavours of this kind.
Professor Trevor Hambley, Dean of Science

INSPIRE-2 is a research and capacity-building project between the University of Sydney, UNSW and ANU.

The CubeSats are scheduled to be launched into space on 30 December 2016 from the east coast of the USA and to be deployed from the International Space Station in January 2017 as part of the European Union's QB50 project.

Vivienne Reiner

PhD Candidate and Casual Academic
  • Integrated Sustainability Analysis,
This is a major milestone in space research for the team and Australia.
Iver Cairns, Professor in Space Physics