SmartSat CRC backs ACT space technologies

The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), has announced a suite of new R&D projects and university appointments that inject new funds into research in space technologies addressing bushfire resilience, spacecraft system autonomy, space objects surveillance and cyber security.

One of two new research projects co-funded by SmartSat and ACT Government brings together the Australian National University (ANU) and EOS Space Systems to deliver advanced manufacturing technologies for the OzFuel instrument.

This is a key payload of an Earth Observation Resilience satellite mission that aims to improve continental scale fire management and environmental monitoring tailored specifically to Australian Eucalypt forests.

The second project brings together Infinity Avionics, UNSW Canberra and Nominal Systems to develop capabilities in Space-Based Space Surveillance (SBSS), a vital tool for spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) navigating increasing debris and space objects.

Infinity Avionics CEO Igor Dimitrijevic said: “Infinity Avionics specialise in space remote sensing, and with increasing global demand for Space Domain Awareness (SDA) technologies, this project accelerates the time to market for our R&D hardware and tip-and-cue smarts that help our customers rapidly detect and characterise objects in space.

“Infinity Avionics will leverage the virtual environment to validate operational concepts and performance requirements of its remote sensing technology, which is a really exciting and powerful combination made possible through our collaboration with Nominal Systems on this project.”

SmartSat has also recently approved funding research capabilities in cybersecurity and resilient artificial intelligence for space systems at UNSW Canberra. This is in addition to two SmartSat-backed Professorial Chairs at ANU – Professor Hanna Kurniawati, Professorial Chair for System Autonomy, Intelligence and Decision Making, and Professor Kirk McKenzie, Professorial Chair of Precision Measurement in Space.

SmartSat CEO Professor Andy Koronios said that the projects brought the CRC’s joint research investment into the ACT to $7 million.

“Since 2020, SmartSat has demonstrated its commitment to building the ACT’s space R&D capabilities, funding over ten projects at ANU and UNSW Canberra. We are excited to support this proactive agenda laid out by the ACT government.

“This fresh round of research investment by SmartSat delivers a rapid injection to the ACT Space Update. We believe it will have a force-multiplier effect on the development of space R&D capability in the ACT and provide direct support to the ANU’s broader Earth Observation Resilience Mission with critical technology.”

The new funds were announced as part of the ACT Space Update 2023 unveiled in Canberra.

Picture: Infinity Avionics/high resolution space camera

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