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ACRUX-1 headed to space on Rocket Lab’s next Electron rocket launch

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

ACRUX-1 is MSP’s inaugural cubesat and marks a significant crux for the organisation. Credit: Blake Fuller, MSP.

The Melbourne Space Program (MSP) is excited to announce that our inaugural cubesat, ACRUX-1, is scheduled for launch with Rocket Lab’s next Electron rocket flight as part of a ridesharing mission through Spaceflight, a launch service provider.

The launch window is scheduled to open on Tuesday, 25 June, with launch taking place at Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula.

And the mission has been named “Make it Rain” as a nod to the notable rainfall in both Seattle, USA as well as New Zealand, where Spaceflight and Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 reside respectively.

This will mark Rocket Lab’s seventh Electron launch, and the third Rocket Lab Electron launch of 2019.

And it will mark MSP’s first-ever launch of a satellite.

A snapshot of testing the detumbling process. Credit: Kaleb Foster, MSP.

ACRUX-1 was designed and built by engineering students, with the support of regulatory and business teams as well as professional development and marketing teams.

The Melbourne Space Program is a not-for-profit education organisation run entirely by volunteers – students from universities across Melbourne with a vision to launch the next generation of technology pioneers.

A look back as we move forward

In the past, ACRUX-1 has been compared to the launch of another student-built satellite that was built in Melbourne during the late 1960s: Australis-OSCAR 5. It was the first satellite ever to be conceived of, designed, and built in Australia.

Since then, Australia’s satellite-related space capabilities have been stymied by outdated policies and regulation, hindering growth of the nation’s space industry and support of its incredible local talent.

In light of these challenges and obstacles, the Melbourne Space Program considers the design and build of ACRUX-1, as well as the successful securing of an international launch and related licenses, as significant accomplishments in themselves.

Testing ACRUX-1’s solar panels. Credit: Rowan Skewes.

Acrux: The brightest star

ACRUX-1 was named after Acrux (Alpha Crucis), the brightest star in the Southern Cross.

It also plays on the idea of a “crux” – a decisive, critical or pivotal point or feature – and a fitting name for MSP’s inaugural project and mission.

With about 6 weeks left until our launch window opens, MSP will continue to share stories and information on ACRUX-1, our journey to space and where we are going from here.

Follow us on social media to keep up with news about ACRUX-1’s launch, an unveiling of our new website, and to find out why we believe this cubesat marks a significant crux for MSP and for Australia!

For media queries please contact us at

Written by Megan Toomey, Creative Communications Manager

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