The M1 CubeSat is one of three under development by engineers and researchers at UNSW Canberra Space, under a $10 million contract signed with RAAF in November 2017. The second and third are set for launch in 2019 in a formation known as M2.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne toured the UNSW Canberra Space Centre to view the spacecraft being developed.
"This Canberra-developed spacecraft will provide new ways to enhance Australia’s future Defence space capability by gathering remote sensing information with radios and cameras," Minister Pyne said.
"These versatile small satellites have re-programmable software defined radios on board, and can change their purpose mid-mission, greatly improving their functional capabilities for multiple uses by Defence.
"Small, low-cost satellites like M1 provide a unique opportunity to support Australian Defence Force capabilities and to rejuvenate Australian space industry."
Over $300 million was committed in this year's budget to establish the Australian Space Agency, which the government is hoping will drive Australia's involvement in space and develop national space-related infrastructure.
"These space missions will also deliver research and educational outcomes for Defence and civilian students studying engineering at UNSW Canberra, forming an important part of building our space capability for the future," Minister Pyne said.
The M1 satellite is on track for a September launch. @cpyne joined us on campus this week to inspect the CubeSat which is going through the final testing phase before its planned launch later this year https://t.co/LU133JBvcu #UNSWCanberra #Canberra #Space pic.twitter.com/4vxi9zS0DM— UNSW Canberra (@UNSWCanberra) June 8, 2018