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Smart satellite R&D to secure Australia’s future

The University of South Australia will be playing a leading role in a national research powerhouse involving a A$ 190 million investment in cash and in-kind from 84 research and industry partners.

As reported, the University is heading a new Cooperative Research Centre for Smart Satellite Technologies and Analytics, the SmartSat CRC, touted as the most significant space industry research concentrations in Australia.

 The Federal Government, through the Department of Industry, Science and Technology’s successful CRC program, announced funding worth A$ 55 million.

Huge contribution to Australia’s space industry

The SmartSat CRC will be the biggest investment in space industry R&D and is set to meet the Australian Space Agency’s goal of lifting the country’s space industry to A$ 12 billion, generating an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.

Globally space technologies and industries are worth more than A$ 500 billion but that success has been underpinned by serious global investment in research.

Australia has had a strong pedigree and a long history in space with excellent scientific capabilities in instrumentation and communications technologies.

However, 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.

The 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.

This can be achieved by developing leapfrogging technologies in areas where the country has some of the best expertise on the planet – AI, advanced communications and remote sensing analytics.

A nationwide collaboration

For a nation with a footprint covering nearly 10% of the planet, Australia has had very little presence in space.

As the country advances at a pace to an era of machine-to-machine communications and the Internet of Things (IoT), satellites are becoming central.

Even though the new CRC will be located in South Australia, it is a national program that will involve some of the best universities in the country as well as the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Defence Science and Technology (DST).

It 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.

Benefits of the CRC

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.

Benefits include improving communications for all Australians, monitoring and protecting the environment, enhancing understanding of climate change, protecting borders and communications systems, and advancing the progress of new industries.

Having a strong support from both government and industry will forge a really powerful network for space technology innovation.


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