Liquid lenses for better satellite monitoring

Scientists Franke Agenbag and US Major Chris Rocker with the Buccaneer CubeSat

Space is a harsh place. On Earth, we’re protected from extreme radiation by our atmosphere and magnetic field. Spacecraft don’t have this protection and are highly vulnerable to radiation damage: one rogue particle in the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to catastrophic mission failure.

HIA is taking a leading role in making space missions safer thanks to new testing facilities. Testing space payloads, components and electronics before they are launched into space helps make missions more successful.

Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility’s Space Irradiation Beamline (HIAF-SIBL), hosted at the Australian National University, has played a vital role in an exciting first for the Australian space industry: the first time that Australian space radiation testing has been done on an Australian space payload. The occasion? Testing innovative liquid lenses that enable a satellite to take a selfie.

HIAF has a long-lasting collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and we are honoured to contribute to the DSTG’s Buccaneer Main Mission (BMM) CubeSat, which is the first sovereignly developed Defence satellite programme flown by Australia since WRESAT in 1967.