COSSA Fact Sheet No. 1997/2

In 2001, the hundredth anniversary of modern Australia and the commencement of the new millenium, the first Australian scientific satellite mission for more than thirty years will be launched. Federation Satellite One (FedSat-1) will be a low cost microsatellite, conducting communication, space physics, remote sensing and engineering experiments. The FedSat-1 mission will give Australian scientists and engineers valuable data about the space environment, as well as experience in space engineering and in practical applications of the space environment.

1. FedSat partners:

FedSat will be built and operated by a group of research organisations, companies and universities:

This group is proposing to establish the Co-operative Research Centre for Satellite Systems, with headquarters in CSIRO Office of Space Science & Applications, Canberra, and laboratories at the University of South Australia; University of Newcastle; LaTrobe University, and the Queensland University of Technology.

2. Orbit

As planned by the CRC partners, FedSat-1 will be a microsatellite of about 50 kg mass, in a low Earth orbit of approximately 1000 km altitude. The preferred orbital plane at this stage is a low inclination one, to promote inter-satellite and ground to ground communication using FedSat and the planned small satellite missions of neighbouring countries over the same time period.

A high inclination orbit plane is the second option.

3. Mission

The 5 principle missions of FedSat are: communications; space science; remote sensing; engineering research; and education/training, as shown below. The payloads will be developed by the venture partners.

Communication: test satellite- to -satellite communication; carry out experiments (with Nanyang University, Singapore, and others) in operating multi-satellite Low Earth Obit constellations; test Ka-band downlink; carry out digital signal processing experiments in multi-media data transmission, paging, remote area personal safety communications; relay of scientific data from Antarctica to Australia.

Space Science: NEWMAG experiment in solar-terrestrial physics, to measure electrical currents and perturbations in the Earth's magnetic field

Remote sensing: GPS occultation experiment for atmospheric sounding

Engineering research ("device qualification"): test of solar panel efficiency, new on-board processors, space qualification of GPS receiver.

Education and training: About a dozen professional staff in participating companies will, over the next 7 years (the development and operations period for FedSat), gain hands on experience in space missions. Several dozen graduate students, academics and research agency staff will gain hands-on experience in space technology and science, will help design and test payloads, and will take part in experiments and research based upon the operation of those payloads. This group will form the skilled resource base for follow-on space missions, for which the CRC will help develop a commercial market while also maintaining the public interest market. The CRC intends to support school projects based on FedSat, to help encourage education about space applications.

4. Satellite bus

The bus is yet to be selected but will be a space-qualified product. The in-orbit mass, bus plus payload will be about 50 kg.

5. Launch

The launch service provider is yet to be selected. Reliability, track record, cost (if any), existing co-operative links and orbit compatibility will be among the factors to be considered by the venture partners in selecting the launch provider. The nominal launch date is June 2001, during the centenary of the Commonwealth of Australia. FedSat is an official event on the Centenary of Federation Council's calendar.


Vers. 2b J Kingwell 10.7.97

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