CUAVA1
Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Full article issued by the ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles and their Applications (CUAVA).

CUAVA-1, an Australian spacecraft designed and built by a team at the ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles and their Applications (CUAVA), has been launched onboard a Space-X Falcon 9 SpX-23 rocket on 29 August 2021 from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. This first mission is one of many expected to help pave the way for the development of a sustained commercial and scientific space industry in NSW and Australia.

CUAVA-1 has four experimental payloads intended to give scientists and research students fresh insights from near-Earth orbit during its 12-month mission. They are designed to:

  • investigate Earth’s plasma environment and space weather using onboard radiation detectors
  • observe Earth using novel imaging technology
  • test equipment designed for use in a future satellite that will search for signs of life on planets around Alpha Centauri, our nearest star system
  • link with the international amateur radio union for education and outreach.

ARC CEO Professor Sue Thomas said the launch was a significant outcome from the Training Centre. 

'We increasingly rely on access to space for vital data and services, and a skilled workforce is required to grow the sector and capitalise on global opportunities – it is exciting to see CUAVA undertaking this essential research.'

On 6 October 2021 the deployment of the satellite into orbit from the Japanese experiment module "Kibo" was livestreamed on YouTube.

CUAVA is funded under the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Training Centres scheme which fosters close partnerships between researchers and end-users to provide innovative Higher Degree by Research and postdoctoral training for industries that are vital to Australia’s future.

Photo credit: 

Mock-up of CUAVA-1 satellite in orbit 400 kilometres above Earth after deployment from the ISS.