COSPAR ID1967-118A
SATCAT no.03054Edit this on Wikidata
Mission durationData: 73 orbits
Total: 642 orbits
Total: ~42 days
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerWeapons Research Establishment
Launch mass45 kilograms (99 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date29 November 1967 (1967-11-29)
Launch siteWoomera LA-8
End of mission
Decay date10 January 1968
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth

WRESAT (abbreviation for: Weapons Research Establishment Satellite) was the name of the first Australian satellite. It was named after its designer.

WRESAT was launched on 29 November 1967 using a modified American Redstone rocket with two upper stages known as a Sparta from the Woomera Test Range in South Australia. The Sparta (left over from the joint Australian-US-UK Sparta program), was donated by the United States. The launch made Australia the seventh nation to have an Earth satellite launched, and the third nation to launch one from its own territory,[1] after the Soviet Union and the United States (the UK, Canada and Italy's satellites were also launched on American rockets unlike the French Astérix, which launched on an indigenous rocket out of Algeria[2]).

WRESAT weighed 45 kg (99 lb) and had the form of a cone with a length of 1.59 m (5 ft 3 in) and a mouth diameter of 0.76 m (2 ft 6 in). It remained connected with the third rocket stage and possessed with it an overall length of 2.17 m (7 ft 1 in). WRESAT circled the Earth on a nearly polar course, until it reentered the atmosphere after 642 revolutions on 10 January 1968, over the Atlantic Ocean. The battery-operated satellite sent data during its first 73 orbits of the Earth.

See also


  1. ^ "First time in History". The Satellite Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  2. ^ "Asterix-1 – Space Archaeology". spacearchaeology.org. Retrieved 2016-11-15.

External links

  • Synopsis of WRESAT
  • History of SPARTA test series
  • A personal reminiscence of WRESAT (Broken Link)
  • National Film Archive film clips of WRESAT