Symposium: Fifty Years of Space Technology at the University of Melbourne
Fifty years ago, a group of University of Melbourne engineering students began construction of the first earth satellite built in Australia. Construction of the satellite (Australis Oscar 5 –AO5) was completed in 1967, and it was launched into orbit by a US Air Force rocket in 1970. AO5 carried out a number of measurements in space, and successfully responded to commands from earth. The satellite was tracked by a group of amateur radio operators around the world. In the 45 years since then, no Australian university has repeated this.
In late 2014, a team of University of Melbourne students formed the University of Melbourne Space Program (UMSP) to continue what our alumni began. This team is developing a full space program and building another University of Melbourne satellite. The UMSP vision is to increase humanity’s access to space.
In this symposium, five members of the original student team that built AO5, including Melbourne Laureate Emeritus Professor Rod Tucker, will give an overview of the design and construction of the AO5 satellite and describe their motivations and the challenges they faced. Members of UMSP will give presentations on the design and construction of their satellite and will outline their plans for completing construction, testing and deployment of the satellite into low earth orbit.