Below this introduction is the history page for the historic website of the GPS Signal Science Division
of the Cooperative Research Centre for Satellite Systems, the CRCSS. This Centre was directed by
Dr Elizabeth Essex-Cohen of La Trobe University, with much GPS and ionospheric research being undertaken
at La Trobe University, but other GPS related, especially more applied application research being undertaken at other Australian centres.
The website includes a brief accounts of plans for CRCSS research
conducted at other Australian centres. However the value of this site was greatly
enhanced by providing an account of the history of satellites, and of Australia's
involvement in this history.
Note that FedSat was not in fact launched until December 14, 2002, and the projected ARIES satellite project never went ahead.
The historic home page for the GPS Signal Science Division of the CRC for Satellite Systems is here
A few of the images that were no longer available have been replaced. Some broken links remain.
UPDATED 2017: New text in Green
Australia in Space - a History
Third in Space --Thirty years of inaction -- Rebirth with FedSat 1
Sputnik launched 1957, Explorer 1 in 1958, then with WRESAT in 1967 Australia came third in the satellite league table, passing Canada's Alouette, and France's FR-1. See the Satellite Big league Table below.
Here come Australia's latest satellites, FedSat in 2001, and ARIES in 2000.
The caption above may be a little unfair (to Australia) as various Australian researchers have been involved with satellite science and technology over the years - but always using someone else's space vehicle. With FedSat 1, we at long last have the opportunity to launch and operate our own satellite.
|Australian scientific satellites are:|
WRESAT Launched 29 November 1967 from Woomera, South Australia.
The first stage of the launch veicle was a USAF Redstone Rocket. Initially over painted white. The first stage was recovered from Prohibited Area at Woomera and put on display at Woomera village.
The launching gantry erected at Woomera for the UK Blue Streak missile project was comparable to those at Cape Caneveral. However following on the cancellation of the Blue Streak missile project, the multi-story building, erected at a remote location at great expense by Australia, was demolished, in an outstanding act of Forward Thinking. See Woomera Story.
|Australis launched 23 Jan 1970 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. -- called by NASA OSCAR-5|
|ARIES Australian Resource Information and Environment Satellite Scheduled to be launched 2000 Project was scrapped.|
FedSat 1 Scheduled to be launched in 2001
Announced by Federal Science and Technology Minister, Peter McGauran
See Press Release FedSat on Track for Federation Launch
In addition to these scientific satellites, there have been a number of
telecommunication satellites, |
including Aussat 1, 2, B1 and K3.
|FedSat Australia's second scientific satellite was
developed by a consortium of CSIRO, Universities and Space Industry companies called the
Cooperative Research Centre for Satellite Systems (CRCSS)
Pix to left is of the actual satellite, with boom arm retracted, in the cargo bay of the Japanese H-IIA rocket which launched FedSat along with the Microlabsat and WEOS microsatellites.
The launch from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan, took place on Saturday December 14, 2002 ; FedSat was operational for over five years.
|Australia's third scientific satellite launch, involved
not just one but three
All three were launched by NASA to the ISS from Cape Canaveral on April 19, 2017, to be actually
launched into orbit from the International
Space Station a month later. The three stackable satellites launched were
Inspire-2 ( Univ Sydney ),
SuSat ( Univ Adelaide),
and UNSW-ECO (Univ NSW)
as part of a European project, QB50, which involves 50 such nano satellites.
To left artists impression.
|The Ancient History of Space Science in Australia|
On 1 April 1947, the United Kingdom / Australian Joint Project came into existence and marks the commencement of Australian Space Program(s). In a memo to PM JB Chifley, 20 Sept 1946, it is stated that ".. this project ... without question put Australia in the very forefront of the most modern developments in ... Science." The project essentially came to an end with the launch of WRESAT in 1967. With the launching of WRESAT, Australia did indeed join the big league of nations launching satellites from their own territory, of which the US and the USSR were the only members at that date. But there was no ongoing Australian Space Program for over thirty years. The only exception to this statement was the launch in 1970 of the very modest Australian satellite, Australis, given a free launch by NASA, which called it Oscar-5. Australis was a simple beacon satellite, like Sputnik -1, with on-board receivers to control powering down (to conserve its alkaline batteries.)
But over thirty years, while communication satellites became commonplace, there were no further Australian developmental or scientific satellites. However, at the start of the next millenium, this dream of fifty years ago may yet come true. CRC SS Chair Tony Staley has prophesised that "the FedSat project would generate a new spirit of nat ional confidence and encourage young Australians to set their sights on the star s." See Mission of FedSat
|The Special Possibilities for FedSat GPS|
|The special opportunity and challenge that FedSat presents is to use the signals from GPS and Glonass satellites to probe the atmospher and ionosphere. Better knowledge of atmosphere temperature and water vapour content, has great promise to improve weather prediction. Better knowledge of the ionosphere (and plasmasphere) -- the so-called space weather -- is vital to satellite communication and the application of long range radar. Yet GPS system became fully operational only in 1995. FedSat's exciting use of GPS features in the ATMOZ - GPS Project For the technically inclined, see the Overview of GPS = Global Positioning System Compare with Russian system GLONASS|
|FedSat 1 and International Collaboration in Space Science|
|With FedSat, Australian scientists can for the first time in 30 years participate fully in space science. We shall participate in Mission to Planet Earth the Satellite Data Information Scheme devised by NASA. Now adopted by COSSA for use in Australia's space program|
|Other resources on Australian Space Science:|
|The Big League Table of the Nations That Have Launched Satellites|
|1||Russia Sputnik 01, launched on October 4, 1957 from Central Russia|
|2||USA Launched first successful satellite Explorer 1, January 31, 1958|
Canada launched Alouette 1, 2
Sept 1962, 25 Nov 1965
from Vandenberg (US) .
NOT OWN TERRITORY - SCRATCHED
France launched FR-1 satellite from Algeria 6 Dec 1965
NOT OWN TERRITORY - SCRATCHED
|3||Australia launchel WRESAT 29 November 1967 from Woomera, South Australia.|
Sputnik launched 1957, Explorer 1 in 1958, then with WRESAT in 1967 Australia came third in the
satellite league table, passing Canada's Alouette, and France's FR-1.
Although Australia was at the forefront
of Man's initial steps into space,
the retirement of Sir Robert Menzies as PM
heralded a long era of neglect of satellite technology.|
See The history of Australia in space
Enquiries and comments to the Webmaster   Dr Harvey A. Cohen