50 Years Ago Australia Launched Its First Satellite

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50 Years Ago Australia Launched Its First Satellite

Postby OverTheTop » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:39 am

On 29th November 1967 Australia became the third nation in the world to have a satellite in space!

Article here: https://www.dst.defence.gov.au/news/201 ... -satellite

"WRESAT (the Weapons Research Establishment Satellite) blasted off from Woomera on 29 November 1967 and Australia became the third nation to design and launch a satellite to orbit the earth. WRESAT completed 642 orbits before crashing back to earth.

Design work on WRESAT began in early 1967 as a joint venture between the Weapons Research Establishment (WRE) and the University of Adelaide.

The project aimed to improve the understanding of the effect of the upper atmosphere on climate and weather and assist the US in obtaining physical data for research programs. The project also aimed to develop techniques for launching trials in the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) and British satellite programs, and demonstrate an Australian capability for developing a satellite using advanced technology and existing low-cost launch facilities at Woomera.

The US and the UK provided assistance on the project, including the US Department of Defense, NASA, and the UK's Ministry of Technology.

Using a spare American Redstone rocket from the tripartite Sparta project conducted at Woomera, WRESAT was designed, developed, built and successfully launched in eleven months. It was launched at Woomera on 29 November 1967, making Australia only the third country in the world to build and launch its own satellite, behind Russia and the United States.

WRESAT transmitted scientific information to tracking and research stations around the world for 73 of its 642 orbits. It re-entered the earth's atmosphere and was destroyed by the resultant high temperature on 10 January 1968 over the Atlantic Ocean west of Ireland.

Apart from the experimental data obtained, WRESAT contributed both to the knowledge of the solar-terrestrial relationship and to the studies of atmospheric composition. The project also presented an opportunity for a united approach to a scientific problem with demanding requirements. Such was the interest in space technology that the WRESAT prototype was exhibited in Parliament House, Canberra, and at the London Trade Fair in 1968."
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