Australia’s SmartSat CRC – Securing our future
SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre announces details of its first R&D projects.
On the 18th February 2020, ahead of the landmark week for Australia’s space industry, including the ninth convening of the highly successful Australian Space Forum, the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre today announced details of its first R&D projects, prioritising water security, disaster management, and advanced telecommunications innovation.
nation’s crippling summer of bushfires, top priority for the CRC is development
of accurate, reliable communications technology for disaster management, which
will see SmartSat collaborate with NASA, the Australian Maritime Safety
Authority, and local industry partner, Safety
from Space, on a project with broad international implications.
“Critical communications infrastructure is
often damaged during a major fire incident, which may complicate rescue efforts
and put lives at further risk,” Prof Koronios says.
“We are meeting with NASA this week
to discuss a project that will adapt existing emergency beacon technologies
into a form of miniaturised satellite radio, connected into a national incident
data management system that will deliver a complete, real-time picture of
disaster zones and ensure reliable communication for individuals and
communities in danger.”
In a separate
project, SmartSat will prove-up technologies that will enable its partners and
relevant agencies to establish a national network to monitor the quality and
quantity of surface and ground water across the country.
‘AquaWatch Australia Mission’, this project is to be undertaken in partnership
with the CSIRO, and with the support of partners will encompass a national
mission to establish a mini constellation of dedicated AquaWatch satellites, complimented by a network
of thousands of terrestrial water sensors that will upload data continuously in
conjunction with government, industry and scientists, we will be enabling the
development of a comprehensive, national monitoring system to provide precise,
decision-ready information on quality and quantity across Australia’s waterways
and reservoirs, essential for the operation of all levels of government in
sustaining basic water services for all Australians.”
SmartSat-CSIRO Aquawatch program will initiate a suite of additional projects
benefiting regional stakeholders including primary producers, environmental
managers and resource companies, representing just one part of SmartSat’s
broader commitment to regional development.
impediment to growth in many regional areas is lack of communication
infrastructure, which is often far inferior to that found in capital cities,”
Prof Koronios says. “That not only prevents business and industry from
investing in these regions, but also makes individuals reluctant to relocate, even
while many experts
point to the great need to grow Australia’s regional areas.”
of SmartSat’s first-round R&D projects address various technical elements
of this national communications challenge, with the goal of establishing cost-effective, sovereign satellite
capability to deliver secure, high-speed
data nationwide. Developing this network will not only deliver benefits
to individuals, industry and the nation’s defence sector, it will also ensure
Australia leads global innovation of next-generation technologies such as laser
and quantum communications.
technologies represent the future of how the world communicates and Australia
is home to internationally
recognised experts in the field,” Prof Koronios says. “Now, the mission for
the SmartSat CRC is to co-ordinate research in a way that not only solves the
unique challenges posed by Australia’s sprawling geography, but in doing so,
shows the world a better way to communicate.”