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SmartSat CRC Annual Report 2021-2022


Well, what a momentous year it has been for SmartSat!

The SmartSat research portfolio has grown substantially. Projects are starting to deliver significant milestones with some concluding and others transitioning to next phases of development and maturation. For example, the project ‘On-Board Processing for Advanced Tactical Communications’ will enhance the networking functionality of existing state of the art military satellite communications. Such projects are strongly supported by Defence. Another example is the ‘Onboard Hyperspectral AI’ which is developing brand new capabilities for onboard Artificial Intelligence processing and analysis of hyperspectral imagery on smart satellite platforms. Such novel capabilities in these areas will transform the ability of a satellite to automatically make sense of the rich and multidimensional spectral modalities in an end-to-end manner onboard the satellite itself.

SmartSat continues to drive the research program toward the Capability Demonstrator concepts, as this lays the foundations for a thriving space ecosystem. This is building Australian capability – having our academic researchers be innovative on the world space stage, placing industry to uplift technologies, and ultimately deliver sovereign content to enable future missions of national importance to our Civil and Defence pursuits.

One of the highlights this year was a program to fund five collaborative research projects in partnership with the UK based Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Science Innovation Network. This program was supported by Austrade, the Australian Space Agency, the UK Government and UK Space Agency under the UK-Australia Space Bridge framework. The five projects explored advanced satellite technologies with partners from both countries and demonstrated the untapped R&D and commercial opportunities that can be created from collaborating with the international space community.

Our team continues to work with industry partners Myriota and Inovor Technologies to progress the build of South Australia’s state satellite, Kanyini, which is designed to rapidly build Australian space heritage. Over the past twelve months, the Kanyini project team successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR), a very significant milestone for the spacecraft. Kanyini will integrate an IoT sensor that will collect data from ground-based sensors using the HyperScout 2 imager – a three-in-one instrument that combines hyperspectral and thermal imaging with high-level data processing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities to support a wide array of applications.

The SatCom IoT-enabled Automatic Ground Water Collection and Aggregation Pilot (known as the SIG Water project) won the Environment and Sustainability Award at the Asia-Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards. This project was a collaboration with the South Australian Department for Environment and Water, SmartSat, FrontierSI, Myriota, the University of South Australia and NGIS. It developed a demonstrator system to collect data from more than 60 ground water bores scattered throughout South Australia, transmitted to nanosatellites several times per day, aggregated and then sent to the SA Department of Environment & Water data collection centre. This project has demonstrated proof of concept for use of advanced IoT’s in remote and harsh locations providing a reliable stream of data and supporting the management of water, one of our most precious resources.

To support the growth of the space sector nationally, SmartSat has established State Nodes in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland. An agreement was also reached with the ACT Government for a Node in that State in late June, bringing the total combined investment to $2.5M. The NSW, Victoria and Queensland Nodes have developed grant programs to drive industry-research teaming and collaboration within their local space ecosystems.

I am increasingly proud of SmartSat’s contribution to the research and development of satellite technologies for the benefit to our national space community and beyond. I cannot wait to see what the next twelve months will bring.

Professor Andy Koronios
Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director

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