University of Sydney team successfully tests the i-INSPIRE spacecraft

Article Date: 30/11/2012


On Sunday 25 of November a team of scientists and students from the University of Sydney conducted a successful balloon test to 27km altitude of the i-INSPIRE spacecraft with the aid of Project Horus.
 
Less than 700 gm in mass, the Initial-Integrated Spectrograph, Imaging, and Radiation Explorer (i-INSPIRE) carries a fully photonic spectrograph Nanospec, an imager, and multiple satellite subsystems. A full set of Nanospec and imager data was obtained via the spacecraft's successful autonomous operation. i-INSPIRE continued to transmit its beacon and take data even after landing in the Mallee.
 
University of Sydney students Adrian (Size) Xiao, Christopher Betters, and Jiro Funamoto are playing major roles in designing, building, and testing i-INSPIRE's instruments and subsystems, together with Dr Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Dr Iver Cairns, Dr Lisa Fogarty, Dr Sergio Leon-Saval, Dr Tony Monger, and Dr Xiaofeng Wu.
 
i-INSPIRE's balloon flight, which was Project Horus's 30th flight, also carried a University of Sydney materials science payload, and advanced GPS tracking systems developed by Project Horus.
 
i-INSPIRE is a collaboration of the University of Sydney's School of Aerospace, Mechanical, and Mechatronic Engineering and School of Physics. It is scheduled for launch into space in the third quarter of 2013, focusing on demonstrations of advanced miniature photonic instruments, high resolution spectra of the Earth, Sun, and Moon, imaging the Earth, and space weather research. i-INSPIRE's balloon flight is a major step towards launching i-INSPIRE into space. The successful test is a step towards Australian universities and institutions developing space capabilities that enable them to take part, for instance, in the European Union's QB50 Project.