Tuesday, 26 September 2017 00:40

ANU, UNSW Canberra ink satellite, space services agreement

Cubesats being tested at the ANU AITC space simulator Cubesats being tested at the ANU AITC space simulator Photo by Stuart Hay ANU

With Australia about to embark on setting up its own space agency, the Australian National University’s (ANU) Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) has announced a new agreement with UNSW Canberra on building and testing satellites and space instruments.

The agreement, announced on Monday, is designed to boost the role of the Advanced Instrumental Technology Centre (AITC) at ANU as a key national resource for Australia’s space industry.

The AITC at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory hosts Australia’s most sophisticated space testing facility, including complex equipment that can reproduce the vibration shock of rocket launches and the temperature extremes experienced in the vacuum of space.

And, as a global leader in the design and fabrication of state-of-the-art optical and laser instrumentation and scientific payloads, the AITC has participated in major international space missions for more than 30 years.

AITC director Professor Anna Moore claimed the UNSW Canberra team would contribute an impressive set of engineering and technical skills, including their experience with CubeSats – a miniaturised satellite system for space research.

Together, the collaborating institutions will provide an end-to-end capability for mission and payload design, assembly and testing.

Professor Moore said aligning the skills of the ANU-AITC and UNSW Canberra Space teams would help enable the future of Australia’s space industry.

“As a part of our mission as a national university, the AITC establishes these strategic partnerships to focus the facilities and talent Australia needs to build its own domestic space industry," she said.

“This endeavour will provide a significant new pathway to answering important questions in environmental science, defence, space physics and astronomy.

“We are excited about what we can do together and look forward to collaborating with industry and other research institutes across Australia, and around the world, to drive innovation and establish a leadership position for Australia in space.”

The MOU between AITC and UNSW Canberra was signed on Monday at the International Astronautical Congress currently being held in Adelaide.

Image: Cubesats being tested at the ANU AITC space simulator. Photo by Stuart Hay ANU

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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