M2 Satellite “divorces” into M2A and M2B; a world first.

UNSW Canberra Space recently progressed their historic M2 space mission, including the separation of the satellite into two smaller spacecraft which are now flying in formation!

Clearbox Systems supported the "divorce" using our SpaceAware network of Passive RF sensors that accurately locate, identify, track and characterise spacecraft based on their RF emissions - all part of our Space Domain Awareness capability. We've been developing this capability together with UNSW Canberra Space under a multi-year research agreement backed by funding from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources CRC-P program.

A bit more insight into the M2 cubesat formation flying progress, from UNSW Canberra Space : the two satellites separated from each other on Friday Sep 10, after which they began to diverge at a rate of several km per day along their orbit track; all solar panels were deployed on the higher energy satellite on Tuesday Sep 14, increasing its drag to slowly bring the divergence rate to zero with LEO aerodynamics; this was achieved on Saturday Oct 2, at a separation distance of approx 75km, at which point all solar panels on the other satellite were deployed so that both have the same drag and the formation is stabilised. Plenty of formation flying experiments to follow.