Australian Defence delivers World first GPS Cube-Satellite


The Hon Christopher Pyne MP_logoMinister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, has announced another Australian success in space, following the launch of the Biarri-Point cube satellite.

Biarri-Point is a satellite developed by the United States, which as part of its payload has GPS technology developed by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney in partnership with Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group.

The Biarri-Point satellite, launched in April 2017 to the International Space Station, was recently deployed from the space station’s Nano Racks into its own orbit, signifying a terrific milestone.

Minister Pyne said it carried the Namaru GPS technology, which is the first fully Australian and New Zealand developed global positioning system (GPS) payload for a cube-satellite.

“The Namuru GPS technology is on-orbit and is successfully functioning correctly providing significant research benefits,” Minister Pyne said.

“It is conducting a range of experiments aimed at increasing our understanding of outer atmospheric effects on small satellites and improving our situational awareness of space.”

The GPS payload was developed by the University of New South Wales in Sydney and the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research, and the mission integration was organised by the Defence Science and Technology Group.

Minister Pyne said the successful on-orbit operation of the miniaturised GPS marks another point on Australia’s path of technological innovation in the growing space industry.

“The research and development program will help support industry jobs around the nation and in universities,” he said.

“The 2016 Defence White Paper highlights the importance of space-based systems for information gathering, communications, navigation and surveillance for all ADF and coalition operations.

“Advances in small low cost space platforms provide a unique opportunity to support Australian Defence Force capabilities and to rejuvenate Australian space research,” he said.

This satellite milestone comes as the Turnbull Government recently announced a review in Australia’s space industry capability, leading to a national strategy for the sector that reflects Australia’s national interests over the next decade, and aligns with Australian Government priorities, including Defence.

“The Government’s $1.6 billion investment in defence industry and innovation programs over the next decade will ensure that we invest in the industry we need to support our defence capability requirements and transition world leading Australian research, development and innovation into practical defence capability,” Minister Pyne said.

The Defence Innovation System consisting of the Next Generation Technologies Fund and the Defence Innovation Hub is designed assist in developing innovative technology and ideas to support Defence capability.  It seeks proposals aligned with the six key capability streams identified in the Integrated Investment Program, which include space.

“The Centre for Defence Industry Capability launched on 5 December 2016 is also focused on building the capability of Australian Small to Medium Enterprises to be positioned to support Defence’s capability requirements, including supporting our space-based capability needs,” Minister Pyne said.

For more information on Defence’s industry support programs, visit


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