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New Zealand Funds Innovative Space Tech Projects

New Zealand Innovative Space Tech Projects

Six New Zealand research projects have received NZ$ 500,000 each from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s competitive Catalyst: Strategic Space fund.

As reported, the funding will support the development of innovative space technologies including satellite control systems and ocean and coastal monitoring satellites.

About the Funding

The funding will support the six recipients in partnering with leading international space organisations to develop new space-related technologies, accessing valuable data and support.

The recipients will partner with international organisations including the University of New South Wales Canberra, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The investment will accelerate the development of space sector capability in New Zealand by enabling New Zealand researchers to build complementary partnerships with leading international space organisations.

These partnerships will enable New Zealand’s researchers to gain access to a wider range of experience and resources than they can domestically.

The six successful projects were recommended from a pool of 29 proposals by a combined panel of international and domestic experts.

Applications were submitted from a wide variety of organisations, showing a promising foundation for future initiatives.

The Projects

The projects include innovative and novel research across a wide range of fields that will allow New Zealand researchers to develop critical competencies alongside world-class partners.

The six projects that will be receiving funding are the following:

  1. Small-satellite radar to monitor NZ’s oceans and coasts

This is a project of the University of Auckland. The University will be collaborating with German and Canadian researchers to develop a prototype satellite radar system suitable for integration on CubeSat platforms.

  1. Space satellite mission design and control

This is also a project of the University of Auckland, which will establish collaboration between the University and the Australian National Concurrent Design Facility (ANCDF), which is located at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

  1. Taking biochemistry to new heights: developing nanosatellites for protein crystallisation

A project of the University of Canterbury, it will combine the expertise of their scientists and engineers with those from the University of Auckland as well as with partners from the Arizona State University, the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, and JAXA, to advance research and create new global opportunities for New Zealand’s space sector.

  1. Thermal management of cryogenic superconducting magnets in small satellites

This project of Victoria University of Wellington will have the University’s Robinson Research Institute (RRI) working together with the UNSW Canberra Space Group on strategic problems in satellite technology.

  1. Development of environmentally friendly, high-performance satellite propulsion systems for replacement of toxic hydrazine

A project by Dawn Aerospace, they aim to address the problem experienced by traditional propulsion systems for large satellite and space crafts of using a deadly toxic and lethal fuel called Hydrazine, which is extremely bad for the environment, deadly and expensive.

  1. Advanced small satellite control systems for collision avoidance and orbital debris mitigation

A project of Swarm NZ Limited, this aims to create a software platform that will allow satellite operators to reduce the probability of in-space collisions.


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