• Corporate Publication

SmartSat CRC Annual Report 2022-2023


This past twelve months, we have shifted our focus to impact and the tangible outcomes coming from our broad portfolio of research. As we meet the halfway point of our life as a CRC, we have been seeing wonderful outcomes from some of our biggest projects.

It is my firm belief that as an industry, we are stronger together than we are apart, which is why we continue to strengthen our collaborative relationship with a number of international agencies. This past year, we have welcomed Professor Dame Angela McLean, Chief Scientific Advisor for the UK Ministry of Defence, presented to JAXA President Dr Yamakawa Hiroshi, and hosted Daniel L Dumbacher, Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. We continue to have a strong presence at international events, including the International Astronautical Congress 2022 in Paris and the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado.

November 2022 was highlighted by a visit from NASA Search and Rescue Laboratory Chief, Dr Lisa Mazzuca, and Deputy for National Affairs, Cody Kelly. SmartSat has been working closely with partner company Safety from Space and NASA on the LunaSAR project to develop advanced, low-power emergency radio systems for astronauts, a technology that has been directly adapted from the research completed through the RESARC project.

In February this year, our collaborative venture with the Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Space Agency was launched at the Avalon Airshow in Melbourne. The supply chain mapping tool, the launch of which marked the second anniversary of the UK-Australia Spacebridge, showcases the capabilities of the space sector spanning across both nations.

On home soil, we continue to cement ourselves as the nation’s premier space research center through our extensive partner network. We continue to work alongside the Australian Space Agency to support the Australian Civil Space Strategy. Achieving the goals of the Agency and those of SmartSat requires a ‘Team Australia’ approach, engaging all areas of the sector to deliver tangible value to our partners and impact for the nation, including knowledge, skills, and technology that will form the basis for Australia’s future space systems capability.

In September 2022, we hosted our first in-person SmartSat Annual Conference, welcoming nearly 150 staff, students, researchers, partners and VIPs to the Masonic Centre in Sydney to reflect on our achievements and present our strategic direction as we reach the halfway point of our funding.

In March, CSIRO officially launched their AquaWatch Australia mission, of which SmartSat is a foundation partner, to deliver a ground-to-space water quality monitoring system built on the back of our research. At the 15th Australian Space Forum in May, we were able to unveil our Compact Hybrid Optical-RF User Segment (CHORUS) terminal, a prototype that is creating faster, safer and more secure military satellite communications.

As we move into the new financial year, our Coherent Free-Space Optical Communications project, led by Dr Sasha Schediwy from the University of Western Australia is in preparation to be tested at Talisman Sabre, one of the largest Defence exercises in the southern hemisphere.

Most recently, we were thrilled to announce the launch of the Maya Nula Research Program to develop Australian satellite Earth Observation capability and deliver agricultural intelligence from space. We are thankful to our Board Director, Mikaela Jade, and the Dharug Elders who we consulted with on the pillars of the cornerstone research program to improve our sovereign space capability and provide ‘eyes here, there and everywhere’ to the Australian agricultural and environmental management sectors.

Of course, the past twelve months has not been without its challenges, and in December we were devastated to learn of the passing of our inaugural chair and much valued colleague, Dr Peter Woodgate. Peter was an inspiring leader, a true strategic thinker, an advocate for the Australian space sector, a Board Chair par excellence, a gentle human being, and most importantly, a good friend. In March, we were proud to assist in the launch of his legacy project, the 2030 Space + Spatial Industry Growth Roadmap. This document, which was heavily supported by SmartSat, outlined Peter’s vision for a conjoined space and spatial industry supporting the national mission. It is this visionary work for which Peter was best known within the industry, and so to honour this SmartSat has worked with the Andy Thomas Space Foundation to establish the Dr Peter Woodgate Earth Observation Scholarship to support young people to pursue a career in the Australian space industry.

It is my hope that SmartSat can sustain Peter’s legacy of graciousness, tenacity, and wisdom as we continue to support research and development that results in deliver real-world outcomes.

Professor Andy Koronios
SmartSat CEO & Managing Director

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