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Griffith University partners for prototype satellite

Image Credits: Griffith University, Press Release

Griffith University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Gold Coast space tech company that will see Low Earth Orbit (LEO) prototype satellites developed locally and deployed for launch in 2023.

The five-year agreement will include a range of projects aimed at increasing Australia’s LEO satellite capability by undertaking research and development for Aerospace Applications towards the development of small satellite prototypes.

Griffith’s Vice-Chancellor and President stated that the partnership would offer significant benefits. By entering into this MOU with the firm, the university will be helping to create the jobs of the future by delivering world-class capability hand-in-hand with industry, in this exciting and growing market. One of the most exciting elements of this partnership will be the development of a prototype 100 kg satellite for improved Earth observation by, for instance, utilising LEO satellites in disaster management applications, mining operations, thermal mapping of fires, reef and flood monitoring, land use and urban planning.

The university looks forward to extending its internship arrangements and new avenues for staff exchange. There are exciting opportunities to co-design inspirational industry-focused educational programs for students and professionals. The university’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Research noted that there would be a range of cutting-edge research and development (R & D) opportunities as a result of the partnership.

The institution envisages undertaking R&D on materials, advanced manufacturing methods, components, sensors and IT systems for aerospace applications, including light-weight alloys, incorporated in on-board satellite IT systems for telecommunications, data processing and analysis, and spacecraft data and metadata management. The scientists will also investigate sensing and imaging technologies, including the integration of artificial intelligence in satellite systems.

The space tech firm was excited to partner with the University on these opportunities. This project is about demonstrating to Australia that the nation can build and launch a significant-sized satellite with significant capability. It’s also about working with local partners like Griffith to educate the next generation of space engineers who take the country into orbit.

Griffith will also join forces with the firm on a Collaborative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) to develop composite rocket fuel tanks for low-cost space transport. As the research partner in the CRC-P, the University will assist the company to complete its previously announced project to manufacture lightweight rocket fuel tanks.

The consortium will manufacture composite tanks up to two metres in diameter and trial them in rocket flights, in a bid to reduce weight, increase reliability and achieve cost savings. Queensland has a lot of talent in this space, the Pro Vice-Chancellor Sciences said. Griffith University is pleased to be able to assist the firm in bringing this project to fruition and making it a reality. Now is the time to create the future.

The consortium, in turn,  stated that they are proud to support collaboration with academic institutions like Griffith University and innovative Australian companies in building sovereign space capabilities in Australia.

The Head of School, School of Information and Communication Technology, who has worked with NASA on the Mars rover projects, said a Space Tech Lab is currently being built at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus, offering dedicated facilities for researchers and Gilmour staff to work collaboratively. Aerospace capability is in deep need right here in Australia, for defence, disaster management and environmental observations, he said. He noted that a few companies and legacy systems are being relied on too much for the critical capability to keep Australia safe. This partnership will make a world of difference to the current landscape.

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