M2 Satellite undergoes testing ahead of launch: A cube-sat developed in Canberra to demonstrate state-of-the-art space technology in collaboration with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is going through the testing phase in preparation for its planned launch in early 2021. The M2 cube-sat is the third of three that have been developed by engineers and researchers at UNSW Canberra Space, under a A$10 million contract signed with RAAF in November 2017. This testing follows the successful launch and mission operations to date, of the M2 Pathfinder cube-sat last month. UNSW Canberra Space Director Russell Boyce said the M2 satellite builds on the work of M2 Pathfinder and will be used for maritime surveillance as well as building block demonstrations of various sensors, communications and on-board processing. This particular satellite will split into two in orbit, and demonstrate formation flying technologies as well. “These versatile small satellites have re-programmable software defined radios on board and can change their purpose mid-mission, greatly improving their functional capabilities for multiple uses by Defence and civilian users alike,” he said. Testing began in early June and will continue throughout the year to ensure the cube-sat is ready for launch.

ACSC releases new guidance on cloud security: The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) have released new Cloud Security Guidance to support the secure adoption of cloud services across government and industry. Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the new guidance, which has been co-designed with industry partners, will boost Australia’s cyber security resilience. “The release of the new guidance coincides with today’s cessation of the Certified Cloud Services List (CCSL) which will open up the Australian cloud market, allowing more homegrown Australian providers to operate and deliver their services,” Reynolds said. “This will provide opportunities for Commonwealth, state and territory agencies to tap into a greater range of secure and cost-effective cloud services.” The ACSC will also grow and enhance the Information Security Registered Assessors Programme (IRAP) to further support government and industry in implementing appropriate cloud security measures and increase their cyber security resilience. Private companies welcomed the move as well. Macquarie Government Managing Director Aidan Tudehope believes the guidelines highlight the importance of the legal authority that can be asserted over data based on its jurisdiction – with data hosted in global cloud environments at higher risk as it could be subject to multiple overlapping or concurrent jurisdictions, while in the hands of personnel outside of Australia. “While we remain disappointed by the decision to discontinue the CCSL certification regime, we welcome the ACSC’s new guide today for government departments to assess the security and risks of cloud service providers. This is about more than simply the physical geographic location where data is stored. Data sovereignty is about the legal authority that can be asserted over data because it resides in a particular jurisdiction, or is controlled by a cloud service provider over which another jurisdiction extends.” Information relating to the new guidance can be found here.

First German Heron TP UAV completes successful flight: In preparation for its delivery to the German Armed Forces, the German Heron TP UAV has completed its first flight in the skies of Israel. The UAV was modified according to the needs and requirements of the German Ministry of Defence. It is the result of a joint program led by the UAV Executive Office in the Directorate of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D), of the Israel Ministry of Defence (IMoD), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and Airbus DS Airborne Solutions, an Airbus Group company. The agreement between the respective ministries was signed in June 2018. The agreement outlines the leasing of a number of UAVs as well as maintenance and training services. As such, German Air Force personnel are training together with their Israeli counterparts in an IAF base in central Israel. The German Heron TP UAV is a medium altitude, long endurance, and multi-mission aircraft with a variety of payloads. It is based on the Israeli “Eitan” UAV, which is in operational use in the Israel Air Force. The German Heron TP UAV was modified in record time and incorporates advanced ‘blue-and-white’ [Israeli] technology.

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