New Zealand’s first science satellite mission is preparing to go to space after qualification testing at the National Space Test Facility (NSTF) at The Australian National University (ANU). The NSTF at ANU has been deeply involved in performing the qualification tests of the APSS-1 spacecraft named Te Waka Āmiorangi o Aotearoa (the New Zealand satellite vessel).
APSS-1 is New Zealand’s first student-built satellite. It was developed by Auckland Programme for Space Systems (APSS) undergraduate students. APSS-1 is a 1-Unit CubeSat satellite designed to stay in orbit at 500 km to measure electron density in the ionosphere and to disclose the possible correlation between earthquakes and ionospheric disturbances.
The engineering model and the flight unit of the APSS-1 spacecraft underwent severe vibration testing, thermal testing at atmospheric and vacuum conditions, moment of inertia and centre of gravity measurements at National Space Test Facility with APSS students in attendance.
“Testing space equipment before lift-off helps ensure that space missions have a better chance for success,” says Prof Anna Moore, Director of the Advanced Instrumentation & Technology Centre, home of the NSTF at ANU. “We have been strong partners with the University of Auckland, and we congratulate them on this outstanding and important mission.”
The APSS-1 spacecraft will lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula after 16 November.