Australia’s first amateur satellite

An interesting feature on the Australian Geographic website promotes Australia’s first amateur satellite.

On 23 January 1970, Australia's first amateur radio satellite was launched. Built in 1966, Australis-OSCAR-5 was the first amateur radio satellite constructed outside of the United States.

In the 1950s and '60s amateur radio was a popular hobby. The Melbourne University Astronautical Society began tracking amateur radio satellites, which developed into a project with the Melbourne University Radio Club to build their own amateur radio satellite.

The US Air Force and NASA provided free launches opportunities when there was spare capacity available on the launch of their larger satellites. In Australia, however, the OSCAR-5 had to wait several years for this type of launching opportunity to arise.

Unfortunately, the delay meant that it was beaten to the status of Australia's first satellite by the Weapons Research Establishment's satellite, WRESAT, which was launched from the Woomera rocket range in November 1967.

Read the full Australian Geographic article -