RAAF and university develop novel space camera

RAAF funding has helped Western Sydney University develop a world-first space camera to be demonstrated publcly for the first time at this year’s Australian International Airshow at Avalon.

The Astrosite camera, developed by the university’s International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS), can capture images of objects in space with unprecedented temporal resolution, even during the day in real time.

The cameras is unlike normal cameras which take an image, as it is modelled on how the human eye and brain views the world.

Instead of static images, the camera detects changes in the scene, allowing it to run faster, compute more efficiently yet utilise less data.

Professor André van Schaik, Director of ICNS, said this innovative technique could be the key to making space a safer place.

Professor van Schaik said: “With tens of thousands of man-made objects currently orbiting in space, the risk of collision between debris, satellites and spacecraft is real.

“This has become a serious concern not only for organisations with a commercial interest in space, but also for national and international defence agencies.”

The Astrosite was developed with the RAAF as part of Plan Jericho which aims to deliver future technology systems to the force.

As well as taking advantage of technology, the plan is changing the way Defence acquires technology, with the Astrosite’s success having clear commercial implications.

Project research lead Associate Professor Greg Cohen, said the potential of this technology was endless.

He said: “For example, the Astrosite can observe high-speed phenomena such as satellites and provide early warnings of potential collisions; allow the daytime recording of objects in low earth orbit; facilitate imaging in low-visibility environments; monitor space debris and allow the high-speed tracking of objects.”

Picture: Western Sydney University

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