Australia has made its first successful foray into space in 15 years with the launch of the INSPIRE-2 - but the mission did not go off without a hitch.
The 20cm-long mini cube satellite hurtled into space from the International Space Station and it soon became clear from the radio-silence that its battery was flat.
Around-the-clock detective work and reaching out to a group of radio enthusiasts from the Netherlands was all part of the impressive leg-work done by ANU and University of Sydney scientists tasked with relocating and reviving communications with the CubeSat.
The teams believe the battery wore down due to the extensive delays which meant it launched almost four months after its initial launch date.
Rigorous testing and packing requirements meant even if the teams had known, the CubeSat battery could not be charged while waiting for deployment.
ANU team-member Mr Dimitrios Tsifakis said the battery was a lithium design, similar to what is used in laptops and mobile phones.
"When you run out of juice on your mobile phone you plug it in and you're okay, but once you have something in space...even when the satellite is directly over us it is still 400km away."
He said low battery power meant the satellite's computer was stuck in a loop.
"The satellite was configured to deploy its radio antenna half an hour after deployment but because the battery was so low it could not do it," he said. "It was in an endless loop trying to deploy, fail, try to deploy, fail and it couldn't recharge as this requires a lot of power from the batteries."
Engineers at ground station here used identical hardware to troubleshoot the issue and came up with a new command which would send the CubeStat's battery to sleep, recharge, wake up and then deploy the antenna.
"The problem was with the antenna stowed the satellite was deaf," Mr Tsifakis said.
After trying for almost two weeks, the team reached out to the radiometry community and found a group in the Netherlands willing to track the struggling CubeSat and use their large earth station to beam the commands directly it.
After a nap the CubeSat was alive again.
UNSW Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research Professor Andrew Dempster said two weeks of sleepless nights, detailed analysis, and strong international engagement had finally paid off.
"This success was down to the excellence of the engineers involved in contacting the satellite, and the wonderful interactions with the international radio community who offered their assistance," he said.
The CubeSat is part of the international constellation project, QB50, and fortunately the battery woes have not jeopardised its mission, due to begin in a few weeks.
It is planned that INSPIRE-2 will burn up at re-entry. But before it does the low-earth satellite will collect data about the thermosphere and improve understanding of this little-studied lower layer of the atmosphere and space weather.
Mr Tsifakis said there were several QB50 satellites that suffered technical difficulties due the the delays and some were still missing in action.
"The good news from our satellite is it potentially gives them a little hope they can also recover their satellite and be able to contribute."