Wednesday, 14 July 2004

Another First for Australia!

Oops, forgot the <sarcasm> tags...
...on present indications it would appear that Australia is likely to become the only country in the world to have twice achieved but then surrendered a space-faring capability.
Read the whole sad and sorry story starting at page 29 of the Report to the Committee of Space Research (pdf file)
FedSat is the first satellite built in Australia since WRESAT and Oscar V in the late 1960s. It is carrying out a research mission in space science and communications, and is also testing new concepts in space computing, satellite navigation and orbit determination. FedSat, at around 58 kg, is one of the most complex spacecraft of its size, and the project received a 2003 National Engineering Excellence Award from the professional organisation Engineers Australia.
The spacecraft is the first microsatellite operating in the Ka-band and the first to demonstrate self-healing computers in orbit.
The performance of Fedsat so far has been at least as good as could reasonably have been expected. It was designed to have a 100% capability(worst-case) of 1-year, with useful work being done for 3 years, and some residual capability for perhaps another two after that. From it's current status, after over 18 months in orbit and still at 100% capability, it may well last quite a bit longer.

Since the Research Centre is being wound up on December 31, 2005, Fedsat will still be gathering useful scientific data, but there'll be no-one listening. *SIGH*

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