MQube-1 is the first CubeSat wholly developed at Macquarie University. Intended as the first in an ongoing series of CubeSats, MQube-1 will test and demonstrate key support technologies, as well as building a knowledge base at the university, for a “build on demand” 3U research satellite bus including dominant sun-facing deployable solar array and corresponding attitude control, experimental payload control based on Raspberry Pi and beyond-LEO fault-tolerant electronics.

As the primary science mission, MQube-1 will carry a bespoke thermal infrared imager, and several other secondary instruments which are intended to collect research-relevant data as well as acting as proof of concept for more complex future iterations and missions. The thermal-IR imager will be used to validate mineralogy mapping methods of the earth and the moon from Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) as a first step towards future cislunar and moon orbit missions with an eventual view to deep space planetary CubeSat missions.

Ground Station and Space Operations Centre

We are building a software-defined, highly flexible and reconfigurable ground station on main campus that will enable us to communicate with MQube-1 when launched. The ground station, based around Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform, will enable UHF/VHF-communication capability with tracking antennae at the first instance with capability extended to S-band in the future.

The ground station will be accompanied by our ‘Space Operations Centre’ based at the ground floor of 50 Waterloo Road, leveraging the high-speed network connectivity between the main campus and 50 Waterloo Road. This will be the focal point of our space operations and managing of current and planning of our future space missions.

CubeSat Biological Payload

We are working on establishing procedures and developing a CubeSat payload to assess our novel protocols of “hardening” microorganisms against the conditions of the space environment prior to launch within a CubeSat. That is; we seek to determine the most effective way to prepare an industrially practical organism to survive completely unpressurised transport in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and ultimately beyond.

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