BAE Systems Australia and industry partners have designed, manufactured and tested hardware and software for a space-qualified GPS receiver. As part of Project Biarri in collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) – part of Australia's Department of Defence DSTO – the receivers will be integrated into three small CubeSats that will be launched into low earth orbit.
The CubeSat bodies are just 300 by 100 by 10 0mm and are fitted with small deployable solar panels. Their size and miniaturised sensors make them a cost-effective and innovative option for space missions compared with larger spacecraft.
The Biarri GPS receiver is designed to measure the precise relative positions of the CubeSats in orbit. This allows researchers on the ground to determine where the satellites are at any given time. The three Biarri CubeSats are set for launch by the US Government in late 2014 and will be tracked using ground stations in Australia and overseas.
The BAE Systems’ team at Edinburgh Parks, Edinburgh, South Australia, conducted successful electromagnetic, thermal and vibration testing of the GPS receiver engineering model and the project forms an important part of the company's strategy to develop space capability that will address Defence’s future requirements.