What is Binar?

The Binar (BIN-ah) Space Program (named for the Noongar word for fireball) from the Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) at Curtin University is building the next generation of Australian small spacecraft in order to advance solar system understanding and to lower the barriers to space operations for other groups and institutions.

Our highly integrated bus consolidates the critical spacecraft subsystems onto a single electronics board leaving more room for mission payload equipment than traditional U-class spacecraft (cubesats).
Binar spacecraft are designed and built in Western Australia and leverage commodity electronics manufacturing processes enabling us to rapidly build our highly capable spacecraft repeatably in small quantities or at scale.

Our vision is an Australian future in space, built from inspirational science and engineering, and a growing space economy. Exploration mission are part of a virtuous circle: they inspire us, push the limits of what technology can achieve, and generate innovations and a workforce that is fundamental to building a domestic space industry.

We want to help build a future where WA spacecraft are exploring the solar system, WA students are helping to the build them, and graduates can find jobs in a thriving WA space industry.

What Makes Us Different?

Revolutionary Hardware

Our hardware approach is inspired by tightly integrated electronics design in cutting edge consumer devices including mobile phones and laptops. These devices integrate all functionality onto a couple of electronics boards minimising the space taken up by connectors and interconnect between subsystems. The Binar Space Program uses this same approach to deliver more capable spacecraft in a smaller package.
Our spacecraft are produced using commodity electronics manufacturing techniques. Which are fast, reliable and scalable. As the critical subsystem integration is performed in the design phase, there is less time consuming, costly and error prone manual integration during the build phase lowering  technical risk. The assembly processes we use are designed for mass manufacturing, so they are reliable, cost effective and well proven.

Space Mission Experience

SSTC’s staff are working on active NASA, ESA and JAXA missions including:

  • NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to visit and return samples from asteroid 101955 Bennu
  • JAXA’s Hayabusa2 mission to sample and visit 162173 Ryugu
  • NASA’s InSight mission to study the Martian interior
  • ESA and Roscosmos’s ExoMars astrobiology mission to Mars
  • ESA/JAXA’s BepiColombo mission to study Mercury’s surface, composition and magnetosphere

Our long space science and engineering heritage also includes a number of concluded missions:

  • NASA’s Stardust mission to sample comet Wild/2
  • ESA’s Beagle 2 astrobiology mission to mars
  • JAXA’s Hayabusa sample return mission to asteroid 25143 Itokawa
  • NASA’s GRAIL mission to map variations in the lunar gravitational field
  • ESA’s Solar Orbiter to study heliospheric physics
  • ESA’s SWARM Mission to study Earth’s magnetic field in high resolution
  • HXRS Solar Broad-Band Hard X-Ray Spectrometer to study the effects of solar flares

Blue-Sky Focus

The Binar Space Program was born from the Space Science and Technology Centre’s desire to explore our solar system and the deficiencies we saw in existing small spacecraft platforms.

We have a proven track record of advancing our blue-sky scientific projects into commercial solutions, delivering value for Australian industry and defence. The automated observatories that power our FireOPAL space domain awareness partnership with Lockheed Martin Space (Australia) were adapted from our automated observatories built to track down space rocks for the Desert Fireball Network.

FireOPAL is already delivering space domain awareness data to Australian Defence and will support spacecraft operators to minimise risk and provide better operational intelligence.

As a vertically integrated centre, we have experience designing, building, deploying, operating and maintaining complex technical systems and extracting scientific and commercial value from their outputs.

Engagement and Impact

We want to help build a future where WA spacecraft are exploring the solar system, WA students are helping to the build them, and on graduating they can find jobs in a thriving WA space industry. With every launch of our technology platform in space – for science, for industry or for students – it provides the pathway to realise this vision.

Industry

Space science drives technology innovation that can be used to help solve problems on Earth for a better future. Teaming up with other industry partners, the Binar Space Program will enable access to space through our technology platform. This will promote the development of new home-grown innovations and advances building Australia’s place in the global space economy.

Defence

Binar Spacecraft are designed and built in Western Australia. In contrast to many other suppliers of small spacecraft, we design our own subsystems and electronics. This gives greater mission flexibility and a shorter supply chain for reduced risk, as our designs depend on standard electronic components available from multiple sources, not specialised low volume single-supply spacecraft subsystem vendors.
Breaking this dependency on specialised subsystem vendors offers a truly sovereign capability for Australia.

STEM Education.

As the largest planetary science research group in the Southern hemisphere, the Space Science and Technology Centre is committed to inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and providing real-world opportunities for them to develop their expertise. To date 48 undergraduate students have been involved with our internship program working side by side with our scientists and engineers. In the future Binar will offer more opportunities for other students to get involved, with the possibility of flying their payloads in low earth orbit!

Engineering/ Technology

The Curtin Binar bus is built around a single 8-layer printed circuit board – only occupying a volume of 0.25U including power system. The bus core is a highly integrated unit combining the essential spacecraft subsystems into a single module including onboard flight computer, electrical power system (EPS), attitude determination and control (ADCS) and localization.

It avoids bulky connectors and wiring – a 0.25U bus core allows for much larger payloads than typical in a cubesat form factor spacecraft. Importantly, integrating all key spacecraft subsystems onto a single electronics board allows us to leverage commodity electronics manufacturing techniques. We can produce spacecraft reliably and repeatably at scale and at a competitive price point. And the approach eliminates expensive, time consuming and error prone manual integration of multiple boards and subsystems, compounding the benefits.

Our approach allows us to fly a constellation of spacecraft at the same price point as a single spacecraft from other suppliers.

The Binar bus integrates the flight computer’s primary and redundant ARM microprocessors; 32GB of EMMC storage for managing payload and communications data; the electrical power system, with peak power tracking, battery management and safety systems along with 50Whr of power storage built-in; accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer for attitude determination; 3-axis magnetorquer for attitude control; and GPS module for localisation.

The integration of these systems onto one PCB reduces the complexity of spacecraft assembly and prevents the core systems from becoming an obstacle for payload development. Development of the next iteration of the bus is currently underway, which will add a communications transceiver built on a software defined radio allowing for intelligent spectrum management onto this same board.

Let us know if you have any questions!

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