Australia’s leading space research centre, SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), has announced a suite of new R&D projects and university appointments in support of the ACT Space Update 2023, bringing its joint investment in the ACT to over $7M. With the launch of the ACT Space Update 2023, SmartSat is amplifying this commitment by injecting new funds into research in space technologies addressing bushfire resilience, spacecraft system autonomy, space objects surveillance and cybersecurity. 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 both defence and commercial space operations contending with the risks of navigating increasing debris and space objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). 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, says that the $7M joint research investment in ACT demonstrates SmartSat’s commitment to supporting the national space sector. “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 […]
Adelaide – SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (SmartSat), Australia’s leading space research centre, has signed a new agreement with European Space Agency’s (ESA) Φ-lab to collaborate on Earth Observation (EO) research. The European Space Agency’s Φ-lab is a world-leading research centre with a mission to accelerate the future of Earth Observation through transformational innovations and new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and on-board processing. The agreement builds upon SmartSat’s existing relationship with Φ-lab, who supported cosine to develop the HyperScout imager payload. This payload is currently being integrated into the SmartSat-led South Australian Kanyini satellite, following consultations with Φ-lab regarding its Φ-sat-1 satellite mission. The synergies between these missions offer significant collaboration opportunities between SmartSat and Φ-lab regarding onboard intelligence for EO applications, creating a solid foundation for further research activities under the new agreement. SmartSat CEO Professor Andy Koronios, who signed the agreement in Rome, said, “We are delighted to embark on this new chapter of our partnership with ESA’s Φ-lab through this Letter of Intent. Our relationship with Φ-lab has been growing stronger over the past few years through our shared strategic research initiatives in the Kanyini and Φ-sat satellite missions. Φ-lab is at the forefront of Earth Observation technologies, and we are very proud to collaborate with them to further showcase Australian expertise on an international level. This is a testament to the progress we’ve made in our national space industry.” In the picture: (Simonetta Cheli, ESA Director of Earth Observation Programmes and SmartSat CEO Professor Andy Koronios). “We have also identified new collaboration opportunities between researchers at the University of Queensland and Φ-lab to develop advanced AI capabilities using hyperspectral satellite imagery. This will create the next generation of predictive intelligence that can forecast and monitor agricultural and environmental activities and disaster events with greater accuracy,” he added. As part of the new agreement, SmartSat and Φ-lab plan […]
SmartSat CRC and partners commit $7 million to develop AI-enabled spacecraft that can operate autonomously
SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (SmartSat), Australia’s leading space research centre, has launched a $7 million project to develop new autonomous spacecraft using artificial intelligence (AI). The three-year project, Spacecraft Autonomy and Onboard AI for Next Generation Space Systems, known as SCARLET-α, will bring together eight SmartSat partners: Airbus, Asension, Deakin University, Defence Science and Technology Group, Leonardo Australia, Saab Australia, Swinburne University of Technology, and University of South Australia (UniSA) in a collaborative research effort. SCARLET-α aims to create a set of autonomous algorithms that will enable small and distributed spacecraft to make decisions independently, optimise the use of available resources and capabilities, adapt to changing conditions, and handle critical situations, without intervention from Earth. The project will focus on high impact areas of spacecraft autonomy and onboard AI as identified and prioritised with the industry and defence partners, including: Onboard processing and actionable intelligence Small spacecraft and constellation resilience Dynamic optimisation of constellation resources Real-time tasking and resource allocation SmartSat CEO Professor Andy Koronios, says that, to date, onboard processing has been limited to data collection, but researchers hope the algorithms they develop will allow spacecraft to perform many tasks with less intervention from human operators. “As autonomous technologies advance and are embraced, their place in space will expand and present new opportunities for applications here on Earth. The next generation of satellite communications and earth observation will be achieved using integrated systems of satellite constellations operating autonomously and performing multiple tasks in real time. Such AI-enabled technologies promise to transform the major sectors of our economy, such as agriculture, farming, and mining, and better serve our defence and national security objectives. This investment is possible through the great support of the Federal Government CRC Program Australia and will help develop cutting-edge technologies in space autonomy.” “With next-generation space systems on the horizon, the possibilities […]
SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), Australia’s leading space research centre, has unveiled the Compact Hybrid Optical-RF User Segment (CHORUS) prototype terminal to create more stable and secured military satellite communications at the 15th Australian Space Forum. Funded by SmartSat CRC, the world-leading technology embedded in this prototype has been entirely developed in Australia by the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), and industry and academic partners, EOS Space Systems and EM Solutions, Lyrebird Antenna Research, Shoal Group, Australian National University and University of South Australia, following three years of research. Satellite optical communications links offer significantly higher data rates and a lower interception probability than standard civilian and military radio frequency (RF) satellite communications, which are vulnerable to electronic warfare, such as jamming, geo-location and interception. CHORUS aims to address the several limitations of satellite-based optical communications technology and open viable commercialisation pathways for new SATCOM capabilities. The new CHORUS Terminal is a hybrid optical/RF system, integrating an RF antenna and an optical telescope into a system called the AntennaScope™. This ensures users have reliable communications all the time and much higher data rates when optical communication is possible. A recent VIP demonstration day at the Department of Defence Edinburgh base showcased the successful completion of testing and marked the practical conclusion of the two phases of the SmartSat CRC co-funded project. The unveiling of the CHORUS Terminal at the Australian Space Forum is the first opportunity for the space community to see the prototype and discuss its capabilities and potential commercial pathways with members of the R&D project team. The project drew on impressive efforts by DSTG to support testing at their LASER range, including designing and building a ‘pseudo-satellite’ to prove the hybrid RF-Optical aperture worked as designed. The availability of an EM Solutions provided Cobra maritime SATCOM terminal* […]
It is an historic project to help establish foundational capabilities in the NSW space sector and the Australian space industry as a whole.
The National Indigenous Space Academy (NISA) will see up to five students studying in STEM fields travel to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) in California for a 10 week full time summer internship program.
Industry-led Report A national coalition of leading space and geospatial industry experts have today launched the 2030 Space+Spatial Industry Growth Roadmap, an industry document designed to inform government policymakers to commit to an integrated space and spatial industry to safeguard Australia’s future economic success, societal well-being, and national security. The 2030 Space+Spatial Industry Growth Roadmap lists nine key objectives that must be met to future-proof the nation’s sovereign capabilities in these two vitally important industries – with wide-ranging consequences for tackling climate change, enhancing disaster resilience, strengthening defence, and safeguarding our most critical infrastructure. The Roadmap was developed from extensive industry-wide consultation over 18 months under the leadership of the late Dr Peter Woodgate. It was officially handed over to the Australian Space Agency today as input to its 2040 Vision Roadmap. Acting Chair of the 2030 Space+Spatial Steering Committee, Glenn Cockerton, said the simultaneous growth of the space and spatial industries would profoundly impact the nation’s well-being over the next decade and beyond. “The 2030 Space+Spatial Roadmap represents the lasting legacy of Dr Peter Woodgate and aims to help Australia take advantage of a golden opportunity to bring our national space and spatial industries closer together. The businesses at the intersection of space and spatial have a fundamental role in helping Australia navigate its response to catastrophic bushfires, the impacts of climate change, and the development of recovery plans for the economy following the global pandemic and its impact on our society and the economy.” “This work was conducted under Dr Woodgate’s leadership and was the culmination of over the last few years working across the space, spatial and research sectors. We are proud to be handing over these recommendations to the Australian Space Agency today and hope that the roadmap inspires government at all levels to take immediate […]
Sydney, and Adelaide – Space start-ups Antaris Inc and Quasar Satellite Technologies have announced a partnership to bring a breakthrough innovation in satellite constellation management to market. Under the agreement, Quasar’s digital multibeam Phased Array technology, which enables customers to manage spacecraft constellations through a single ground station connection, will be integrated into Antaris Inc’s software-defined Open Satellite Platform. Antaris Inc Co-founder, Shankar Sivaprakasam said: “We are hugely excited to be partnering with Quasar to help mission owners and satellite operators significantly reduce the cost of managing constellations. Quasar’s digital multi-beam Phased Array ground station is a game-changer. “Rather than having to establish links to satellite constellations using multiple ground stations and providers, Quasar’s connectivity from a single station vastly simplifies and creates a cost-effective earth-spacecraft communication. “Being able to offer Quasar connectivity-as-a-service via the Antaris software-defined satellite platform for our SaaS customers will give us a significant advantage as we start to roll out our platform to clients across the world.” Under the agreement, Antaris will be one of Quasar’s first demonstration users once the company’s multi-beam service launches in early 2023. Antaris plans to make ground contact from its demonstrator satellite (launching late 2022) via an API service with the company’s S band antenna, and other bands into future. Antaris will then offer Quasar connectivity via its marketplace to customer base, which is expected to include satcomms providers, space agencies, defence and intelligence entities and contractors, and space start-ups. Quasar Satellite Technologies CEO, Phil Ridley, said “We are looking forward to working with Antaris on building an end-to-end software defined satellite platform for delivering capability to space. “The Antaris SaaS marketplace solution for orbiting mission design and management is a perfect match for our flexible ground station solution, and together they offer satellite mission designers a range of choices for […]
The Andy Thomas Space Foundation is launching its primary and high school programs to introduce space science and technology into the classroom, with the intention of taking the innovative courses national. Piloted in 2021, these programs are two of the nine educational scholarship and award opportunities on offer from the Foundation in 2022 and approach space innovation and education in unique and interactive ways. Andy Thomas Space Foundation Chair, Michael Davis AO, said the importance of supporting space education initiatives in schools is evidenced by the response of the students to the learning and problem-solving challenges they are presented with. “Space-related projects are a wonderful source of inspiration for students, and they also assist to shape tomorrow’s space workforce,” Davis said. The primary school program is in collaboration with the South Australian education technology company Makers Empire and utilises design challenges to expose students to space innovation with the assistance of 3D printing and app-supported development resources. Two to five teachers from each school will train with subject-matter experts who will share how space technology is being used to solve problems on earth. Co-CEO of Makers Empire, Jon Soong, said the program helps young students develop an interest in space. “It engages them in STEM learning connected to real-world problem-solving to gain an understanding of some of the pathways to a career in space,” he said. The secondary school program is coordinated by Hamilton Secondary College and facilitates the use of the Aldrin Foundation’s Giant Mars Map to engage students in a deeper understanding of space travel. Principal of Hamilton Secondary College, Peta Kourbelis, said she was excited to see that the range of projects proposed by schools is increasingly innovative. “More rural schools are involved, allowing students from throughout South Australia to find out about the amazing opportunities available in the rapidly […]
Fleet Space Technologies has successfully launched its next-generation Centauri 5 satellite on the Space X Falcon 9 Transporter-5 mission. This was the company’s third launch with SpaceX, following the successful deployment of Centauri 4 on the Transporter-2 mission in June 2021. Centauri 5 will be placed in low earth orbit (LEO) at an expected altitude of some 530km (330 miles). A 6U sized microsat with a total weight of 12kg, it will add capacity, reduce latency and provide additional network redundancy in the existing six-strong Centauri constellation, which Fleet operates in collaboration with Tyvak International. Upgrades to the Centauri 4 payload includes enhancements that mitigate the effects of radiation in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), direct communication links to Fleet’s ground station, and an extended S-Band range, allowing uplink at standard ground station frequencies. Digital beamforming provides extra gain, increasing the data rate, and also allows the S-Band frequency channels to be reused on the different beams. This combination increases the satellite’s data capacity by 2.6 times. In a world first, the all-metal patch antennas are all entirely 3D printed. The advances in 3D printing technology used in the construction of its patch antennal also feed into the development of the forthcoming fully 3D printed micro Alpha constellation, scheduled for launch during 2023. Together, the two systems will provide continuous coverage, data rates up to 520 kbps and tailored frequency bands servicing current and future generations of IoT devices. The combined constellation also enables Fleet Space’s ExoSphere system. This is transforming mineral exploration by using ambient noise tomography to locate critical resources up to 100 times faster and with far less environmental impact than conventional methods such as explosives, vibroseis machines and drilling. The Centauri 5 launch further strengthens Fleet Space’s position in the vanguard of the burgeoning Australian space technology industry, which the federal […]