Australia's First Ham Radio Satellite

University students in Australia have convinced NASA to launch the Australis OSCAR 5 Amateur Radio satellite. 

In 1967, a group of students from the Melbourne University Astronautical Society came up with an idea to build a small amateur radio satellite.

It was just 10 years after the world's first satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched and Australia had yet to enter the space race. But it was the hard work and persistence of the young students that convinced NASA to launch the Australis OSCAR 5 into space.

Now based in Adelaide, the project's coordinator Owen Mace said the technology at the time was "cutting edge".

"[The satellite would] transmit details about itself — how it was tumbling, the temperature and the like," Mr Mace told ABC Radio Adelaide's Nightlife program.

"It carried the first command system of an amateur radio satellite; for the first time we could control the satellite."

Australis OSCAR 5 was launched by NASA on 24th January 1970.

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