SmartSat is integrating the capabilities from the priority areas set in SmartSat’s Technology Roadmap across three primary research program areas as below.

The ever-increasing number of satellites being launched into space will pose significant challenges in tracing satellites, avoiding collisions in an increasingly crowded space and integrating different technologies and systems.  As satellite technology becomes physically smaller and are deployed in constellations, increased opportunities exist for significant processing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to be out on-board satellites so that some advanced analytics are carried out on-board satellites to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of data gathering and analysis.

See projects in Advanced Satellite Systems, Sensors and Intelligence projects below:

Topics include:

  • MBSE & Digital twins of small satellite systems
  • Autonomous, cooperative satellite formations
  • Artificial Immune Systems in satellite swarms
  • Trusted Autonomous Formations
  • Self-healing satellite systems
  • Agile & resilient satellites
  • Satellite system & data security
  • Advanced pointing & maneuvering
  • On-board machine learning modules
  • Advanced adaptable payloads
  • HgCdTelR Optoelectronic sensors
  • Quantum sensors

Space Jeopardy and Response (S-JAR)

Advanced Satellite Systems, Sensors and Intelligence

When a satellite stops communicating it is difficult for an operator to determine the cause or nature of the failure and to determine an appropriate response.

Failures can be caused by many events including space based sub-system failures, impaired access to communication spectrum or spacecraft loss due to a<br>collision with space debris. This project aims to advance the concept of a small, system independent suite of sensors and processors feeding information into an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based interpreter that will identify the potential jeopardy of the platform as well as propose an appropriate response.

This work is an important precursor to the development of cognitive satellites – satellites that are “context aware” of their operating environment and are able to independently self-configure to achieve increased mission resilience in a hazardous environment.


Project Leader:
Dr Hai-Tan Tran, DST Group


Measuring Control System Resilience to Cyber-Physical Threat in a Satellite Context

Advanced Satellite Systems, Sensors and Intelligence

Satellite infrastructure provides vital communications links for a number of critical industries, including; defence, transportation, utilities, oil and gas, emergency services, banking, environment, and others. It is therefore essential that such systems are protected from adversarial interference. Cybersecurity, in particular, has proven to be an immense challenge for satellite infrastructure, especially given the inaccessibility and long life-cycle of deployed space systems. Adding to the already complex security environment, satellite systems are evolving to include a vast array of new technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), which introduces even more potential for vulnerabilities to be exploited by cyber adversaries.

Although there are many aspects to satellite protection that can and should be considered, this project addresses the specific issue of control system resilience to cyber-physical threat. Simply put, the project goal is to develop a satellite-centric resilience framework that considers all aspects of cybersecurity (i.e. technology, policy, and people), thereby supporting the generation of metrics to measure a satellite’s physical resilience (i.e. the ability to anticipate, withstand, survive, recover, and adapt) to cyber threats (i.e. nation states, terrorists, criminal groups, hacktivists, and individual hackers). With this framework satellite manufacturers and operators will be able to adequately assess their resilience posture in order to understand their risk exposure, and thus make any necessary changes to ensure they are protected against cyber actors wanting to maliciously degrade, deny, disrupt, or destroy their satellites.


Project Leader:
Dr Abdun Mahmood, La Trobe University, & Professor Jill Slay, University of South Australia

PhD Student:
Jordan Plotnek, La Trobe University