Research Programs

Kanyini: SA Space Services Mission

Other Research

Mission Goal: In partnership with industry, the mission will capitalise on NewSpace opportunities to contribute to a thriving and enduring South Australian space sector and support Australia’s national space strategy.

The South Australian Government is investing $6.5M to deliver the SA Space Services Mission in partnership with South Australian companies Myriota and Inovor Technologies, and the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).

The satellite, named Kanyini by local school students, is part of the South Australia Space Sector Strategy 2030 and is the first state-based satellite for Australia.

SmartSat CRC is leading the mission and will manage application prototyping. Once launched, the planned three-year mission in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) provides opportunities to test and develop the capability and inform future missions.


Project Leader:
Peter Nikoloff, SmartSat CRC


Skills Gap Analysis Stage 2

Other Research

SmartSat CRC and the Australian Space Agency are seeking to better understand the current capabilities of Australian space industry actors, and the needs for the future activities that will drive the national space industry forward. The project will undertake additional qualitative work to triangulate the results of the Space Industry Skills Gap Analysis to;

(i) provide industry validation for the Australian Space Skills Taxonomy;

(ii) test the Skills Gap findings with the lived experience of space industry and training providers, and capture more qualitative information about skills needs pressure points; and;

(iii) capture the views of stakeholders underrepresented in the analysis (e.g. TAFE).

Concurrently, the proposed project will extend the Taxonomy to map skills to space industry occupations/job roles, competencies, and skill levels. This will enable, and help to inform, work to measure and track the space workforce and, in combination with the Analysis, identify training priorities for the space industry. This includes potentially informing future updates to the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).


Project Leader:
Dr Sarath Tomy, La Trobe University


First Nations Earth Observations (iEO)

EO Analytics

The way Indigenous communities manage their lands and waters is intrinsically spatial and has been for over 60,000 years. There is significant opportunity to complement their existing knowledge of the landscape with information from Earth Observation training and potentially bespoke services. There are also significant challenges that Indigenous communities face, which must be acknowledged, understood, and accounted for to best serve their needs.

The primary outcome of this project will be to create a set of evidence-based recommendations for current use and future Earth Observation capabilities and training that could best serve Indigenous communities. The recommendations will be informed by thorough consultation with Indigenous communities and will be directly tied to use cases identified during the consultation.

The Project will be led by Winyama, an Australian, Indigenous owned and operated business with extensive experience facilitating the digital engagement of Indigenous people and communities, and who will work in collaboration with business partner NGIS Australia and FrontierSI on project outcomes which recognises the inherent link between space and spatial for the management and preservation of Indigenous lands and waters.

The project will provide a foundation for building Indigenous capacity to use Earth observation technologies, and is strongly aligned with the Australian Government Closing the Gap initiative, which aims to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.


Project Leader:
Melanie Plumb, Frontier SI


Responsible AI in Space

Advanced Satellite Systems, Sensors and Intelligence

In the 2010s, Global Space Governance (GSG) became an urgent issue with the growing commercialisation of outer space. Given the technical and operational complexities surrounding such enterprise, rather than adopting the traditional model of treaty making, new thinking was required to address the challenges and opportunities created by this commercialisation. In 2014, the Montreal Declaration on Global Space Governance created a Working Group to make recommendations on the peaceful and sustainable use of outer space. In 2017, the recommendations were published by the Institute and Centre of Air and Space Law at McGill University. This international study identified safety and technical gaps in the existing governance regime.

While the McGill study identifies gaps in existing space governance, it does not provide specific recommendations on how different types of technology should be regulated by the space sector. One of these technologies is Artificial Intelligence (AI). The use of AI in the space sector is both a challenge and an opportunity. Challenges include protecting the rights of all stakeholders in the harvesting of data sourced from outer space operations. Opportunities include the ability to provide control systems that enhance traffic safety in outer space.

There is therefore a need to extend existing GSGs to AI applications.

This project aims to create a field-validated AI governance framework for the Australian space sector.


Project Leader:
Professor Mirko Bagaric

PhD Student:
Thomas Graham