Led by the University of Melbourne, the SpIRIT mission is funded via the Australian Space Agency’s International Space Investment: Expand Capability grant program and funding from the different industry partners, Inovor Technologies, Neumann Space, Nova Systems and Sitael Australia. The SpIRIT design is based on a standard format (6U CubeSat) with ∼ 11.5 kg mass and linear dimensions of approximately 30 × 20 × 10 cm when stowed in the launch dispenser, which will stretch to almost one meter once in orbit due to deployable structures.
SpIRIT will first undergo commissioning of the satellite platform and all its payloads, followed by 20 months of main mission operations, spending at least two years in space. SpIRIT operations will demonstrate the long-term performance of Australian-made hardware, and – through the Italian Space Agency’s HERMES instrument – contribute to the identification and characterisation of Gamma Ray Bursts, powerful cosmic explosions resulting from the death or collision between stars, that for a brief moment emit more energy than a whole galaxy.
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