05 Oct 2017

Australia invest $10m in space research and development programme

The University of South Wales (UNSW) Canberra has signed a $9.96 million contract with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to develop new ways to enhance Australia’s future Defence space capability.

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne made the announcement at International Astronautical Conference and said the deal would support the development of Australian space technologies and enhance Defence space capability.

He said: “The programme is designed to enhance the ability of UNSW Canberra to deliver world-class space education to Defence personnel, as well as inform the future direction of Defence space capability.

“Through the programme’s delivery, UNSW Canberra will partner with Australian industry to develop elements of a space flight mission.

“Research outputs are anticipated to provide UNSW Canberra with commercialisation opportunities, which in turn could provide opportunities to stimulate Australian space industry.”

Engineers and scientists from UNSW Canberra Space will design and build three Cubesat spacecraft for two space missions, to be launched into Low Earth Orbit.

The first will lift-off in early 2018, followed by the second in 2019.

Director of UNSW Canberra Space, Professor Russell Boyce said: “These spacecraft are able to gather remote sensing information with radios and cameras, and are the sort of innovative space capability that can help meet many ground-based needs in ways that make sense for Australia.

“Because they have re-programmable software defined radios on board, we can change their purpose on the fly during the mission, which greatly improves the spacecraft’s functional capabilities for multiple use by Defence.”

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