South Australia's Kanyini satellite passes critical testing hurdle

South Australia's Kanyini satellite passes critical testing hurdle

Kanyini mission director Peter Nikoloff.

A South Australian satellite built by public and private partners in Adelaide's Lot Fourteen precinct has passed an important testing milestone ahead of its planned mid-2024 launch, following two weeks of challenging trials including exposure to extreme temperature variations, intense vibrations and crushing vacuum conditions.

The 12kg Kanyini satellite is planned for inclusion in the SpaceX Transporter-11 mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, and was designed and built by local companies Myriota and Inovor Technologies, the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre, and the South Australian Government. 

The satellite's developers had initially aimed for a launch date in 2023.

Today it was announced that critical environmental stress screening (ESS) had been completed at the National Space Test Facility at the Australian National University in Canberra.

With Kanyini’s full system integration review also concluded, the successful completion of this testing now sees the wholly South Australian-based mission team embarking on the final manufacturing phase in readiness for launch.

Once in orbit, Kanyini’s dual Internet of Things (IoT) and imager payloads will deliver critical space data to be used by government and research institutions to expand their knowledge, particularly in relation to sustainability and climate impacts.

The enhanced onboard processing capability of the Hyperscout 2 imager, together with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, enables smart processing of data directly in orbit, supporting rapid decision-making for time-critical applications such as smoke detection for bushfires and a range of other services.

"In reaching this milestone, Kanyini has already achieved one of our key goals for the mission – building the capacity of the Australian space industry and advancing the local expertise within the sector," says Kanyini mission director Peter Nikoloff.

"Once launched, Kanyini will unlock even more opportunities for research and development of innovative, sovereign Australian technologies.

"The collaborative effort from the whole mission team, including SmartSat CRC and our partners Myriota and Inovor Technologies, as well as the support from the South Australian Government, has been outstanding up until now. With all the payloads integrated and having passed this rigorous testing phase, Kanyini is on track for a successful mission."

Inovor founder and CEO Dr Matt Tetlow says the "stellar" results from the ESS not only validate the meticulous testing processes the team has implemented, but exemplify its steady commitment to producing world-class technology.

"Our satellite bus technology is robust, resilient and ready to pioneer the next frontier of space-based applications," Tetlow says.

"Our team has worked very hard over the past few years and is excited about the impact our technology will make in advancing Earth observation capabilities."

Myriota co-founder and chief technical officer Dr David Haley says the latest milestone advances the mission and positions South Australia at the forefront of the national space industry.

"Collaboration with partners SmartSat CRC and Inovor Technologies has been key in leveraging home-grown expertise," Haley explains.

"Once launched, Kanyini will enhance the Myriota Network and facilitate critical IoT sensing worldwide, addressing issues such as water quality, crop health and bushfire resilience.

"Myriota is deeply rooted in South Australia and our dedicated 70-person team eagerly looks forward to Kanyini's launch."

SA's Deputy Premier Susan Close describes the Kanyini build as a remarkable example of South Australian space industry collaboration and expertise driving major advances in local capability.

"The successful completion of this critical milestone brings us one step closer to realising our mission of seeing home grown South Australian space technologies launched into low Earth orbit," she says.

"We are excited about the possibilities that Kanyini holds both in terms of building space heritage for South Australian space companies and the information it will provide to benefit our communities and services here in South Australia."

The news comes as another Adelaide-based company, Space Machines Company, will be deploying its orbital servicing vehicle Optimus to verify data in real time during the SpaceX Transporter-10 mission, in partnership with US-based Orbit Fab.

In other news in the sector, Gold Coast-based Gilmour Space is one step closer to the planned launch of its Eris rocket from the Bowen Orbital Spaceport in North Queensland, after receiving the country's first orbital launch facility licence earlier this month. In February the company completed a $55 million Series D raise, giving it a valuation of $605 million.

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