The SpIRIT (Space Industry – Responsive – Intelligent – Thermal Nano-satellite) mission aims to grow Australian space industry capabilities through the development of an innovative nano-satellite.
SpIRIT will break new ground in high-performance autonomous operations, communications, propulsion and thermal management, and be the first Australian-made spacecraft to host a foreign space agency payload, showcasing both the competitiveness of Australia’s space industry, and the synergies evident between different sectors of the industry.
The project will demonstrate the viability of Australian products in the global space industry supply chain, give hands-on training to grow a highly capable space-sector workforce, and inspire the Australian public.
The SpIRIT mission has an aggressive development schedule; set to launch in 2022, all design, development and manufacture of many novel systems must be completed on time. By leveraging existing IP and design work amongst the SpIRIT consortium, and with the support of the Australian Space Agency, Italian Space Agency, and the United Kingdom Space Agency in an advisory role, the mission will be successful.
Following the launch, SpIRIT will operate in orbit for 2 years, demonstrating the long-term performance of Australian-made hardware.
- An Australian-designed and made spacecraft platform (Apogee satellite bus), capable of competing with international suppliers.
- One main payload for advanced x-ray remote sensing – the HERMES instrument, developed with funding by the Italian Space Agency (HERMES Technological Pathfinder) and by the European Commission H2020 framework (HERMES Scientific Pathfinder)
- Three innovative products to be space qualified for IP generation: TheMIS (thermal management integrated system), Mercury (adaptive autonomous low-latency communication module), Neumann Space Thruster (high efficiency electric propulsion)
- Demonstration of an intelligent ground segments capable of receiving operations requests, applying user priority levels, and making rapid, autonomous decisions about tasking of antennas and satellites.
SpIRIT will operate in orbit for at least two years, and each module will operate for a dedicated portion of that time.
Students will have the opportunity to join the SpIRIT engineering teams at the University of Melbourne and at the industry partners both as part of postgraduate research projects and through a paid internship program, working under the expert mentoring and supervision of academics and industry professionals.