UNSW Canberra joins Australia's multi-billion smart satellite revolution

  • UNSW Canberra joins Australia's multi-billion smart satellite revolution
15.04.19

UNSW Canberra will be a key player in one of the most significant space industry research concentrations in Australia as part of a new Cooperative Research Centre for Smart Satellite Technologies and Analytics – The SmartSat CRC.

The new CRC is a national research powerhouse involving a $190 million investment in cash and in-kind from 84 research and industry partners.

With the addition of the Federal Government funding announced today - $55 million through the Department of Industry, Science & Technology’s successful CRC program – the SmartSat CRC will be the biggest investment in space industry R&D in our history and is set to meet the Australian Space Agency’s goal of lifting Australia’s space industry to $12 billion, generating an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.

Director of UNSW Canberra Space, Professor Russell Boyce, leads the CRC Intelligent Space Systems program and says that SmartSat will allow Australia to grow the space research and innovation that already exist in our country.

“Having the SmartSat will ensure that Australia continues to not only be a part of the space race internationally, but be leaders in cutting edge research technology. I am proud that UNSW Canberra Space is playing an important role in shaping Australia’s direction and capabilities in space.”

The bid was developed by UniSA in partnership with Nova Systems. Bid Leader and SmartSat CEO designate, UniSA’s Professor Andy Koronios, says the CRC will be a game changer for Australia’s space economy.

“Globally space technologies and industries are worth more than $500 billion but that success has been underpinned by serious global investment in research,” Prof Koronios says.

“Australia has had a strong pedigree and a long history in space with excellent scientific capabilities in instrumentation and communications technologies but until now, the research has not been brought together to build a new industry for Australia, and to capitalise on the exponential growth of the global space economy.

“Our goal in bringing together the bid for SmartSat, was to show the huge potential and capacity there is in Australia to make an impact globally by developing leapfrogging technologies in areas where we have some of the best expertise on the planet – AI, advanced communications and remote sensing analytics.”

The new CRC will be headquartered in South Australia but will establish state nodes to ensure that the whole of the nation is involved in the development of smart satellite technologies which will meet Australia’s needs to secure its defence, telecommunications and monitoring technologies into the future.

“This new CRC will re-energise Australia’s satellite communications expertise and capacity and launch a new era of development which will benefit every Australian enterprise into the future – improving communications for all Australians, helping us to monitor and protect our environment, enhance our understanding of climate change, protect our borders and our communications systems and advance the progress of new industries,” Prof Koronios says.

“We are delighted to have such strong support from both government and industry in forging a really powerful network for space technology innovation.”

Partners in the CRC include Australian-based global companies such as AIRBUS, BAE, MDA, Northrop Grumman,  Saab, SciSys, Dassault Systems, and THALES; Australian companies - Nova Systems, OPTUS, SHOAL, and FrontierSI; Australian startups - including X-Lab, Myriota, Fluorosat, Fleet, Innovor, Lyrebird, Delta-V and x-lab; Australian universities and research organisations – UniSA, ANU, UNSW, RMIT, Swinburne, QUT, Curtin, CSIRO, DST, the Universities of Queensland, Adelaide, Western Australia and Western Sydney; and international collaborators, UCL, Catapult, NASA, the European Space Agency and the National University of Singapore among many more.

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