Monday, 15 April 2019 11:10

UNSW Canberra says investment in new SmartSat CRC will boost Australian space industry

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UNSW Canberra says investment in new SmartSat CRC will boost Australian space industry Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

UNSW Canberra says it will be a key player in a new Co-operative Research Centre for Smart Satellite Technologies and Analytics — the SmartSat CRC — a national research organisation involving a $190 million investment in cash and in-kind from 84 research and industry partners.

UNSW says with the addition of the Federal Government funding announced today (Monday) — $55 million through the Department of Industry, Science & Technology’s successful CRC program — the SmartSat CRC will be the “biggest investment in space industry R&D in our history and is set to meet the Australian Space Agency’s goal of lifting Australia’s space industry to $12 billion, generating an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030”.

Director of UNSW Canberra Space, Professor Russell Boyce, leads the CRC Intelligent Space Systems program and says that SmartSat will allow Australia to grow the space research and innovation that already exist in Australia.

“Having the SmartSat will ensure that Australia continues to not only be a part of the space race internationally, but be leaders in cutting edge research technology. I am proud that UNSW Canberra Space is playing an important role in shaping Australia’s direction and capabilities in space.”

The bid was developed by UniSA in partnership with Nova Systems. Bid Leader and SmartSat chief executive designate, UniSA’s Professor Andy Koronios, who says the CRC will be a game changer for Australia’s space economy.

“Globally space technologies and industries are worth more than $500 billion but that success has been underpinned by serious global investment in research,” Prof Koronios says.

“Australia has had a strong pedigree and a long history in space with excellent scientific capabilities in instrumentation and communications technologies but until now, the research has not been brought together to build a new industry for Australia, and to capitalise on the exponential growth of the global space economy.

“Our goal in bringing together the bid for SmartSat, was to show the huge potential and capacity there is in Australia to make an impact globally by developing leapfrogging technologies in areas where we have some of the best expertise on the planet – AI, advanced communications and remote sensing analytics.”

UNSW says the new CRC will be headquartered in South Australia but will establish state nodes to ensure that the whole of the nation is involved in the development of smart satellite technologies which will meet Australia’s needs to secure its defence, telecommunications and monitoring technologies into the future.

“This new CRC will re-energise Australia’s satellite communications expertise and capacity and launch a new era of development which will benefit every Australian enterprise into the future – improving communications for all Australians, helping us to monitor and protect our environment, enhance our understanding of climate change, protect our borders and our communications systems and advance the progress of new industries,” Prof Koronios says.

“We are delighted to have such strong support from both government and industry in forging a really powerful network for space technology innovation.”

Partners in the CRC include Australian-based global companies such as Airbus, BAE, MDA, Northrop Grumman,  Saab, SciSys, Dassault Systems, and THALES; Australian companies - Nova Systems, Optus, Shoal, and FrontierSI; Australian startups - including X-Lab, Myriota, Fluorosat, Fleet, Innovor, Lyrebird, Delta-V and x-lab; Australian universities and research organisations – UniSA, ANU, UNSW, RMIT, Swinburne, QUT, Curtin, CSIRO, DST, the Universities of Queensland, Adelaide, Western Australia and Western Sydney; and international collaborators, UCL, Catapult, NASA, the European Space Agency and the National University of Singapore.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year 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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