22 Sep 2023
Research Update

SmartSat increases investment in ACT to over $7M to support Canberra’s new space agenda

22 Sep 2023

SmartSat has announced a suite of new R&D projects and university appointments in support of the ACT Space Update 2023 unveiled in Canberra today, 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.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr at the launch of the ACT Space Update 2023 in Canberra (Photo: Carl Davies)

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 CRC Chief Executive Officer, Professor Andy Koronios, speaking at the launch of the ACT Space Update 2023 in Canberra (Photo: Carl Davies)

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 a rapid injection to the ACT Space Update. We believe it will have a force-multiplier effect on the development of space R&D capability in the ACT and provide direct support to the ANU’s broader Earth Observation Resilience Mission with critical technology.”

“SmartSat is building the foundation for a strong and successful national space sector. Through strategic investments that bring together prime industry players such as EOS Space Systems and emerging companies like Infinity Avionics with Australia’s leading universities, we are developing the specialist capability needed to grow a robust commercial space industry,” he added.    

Download the full media release here.