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SmartSat increases investment in ACT to over $7M to support Canberra’s new space agenda

The Adelaide-based SmartSat CRC has announced a suite of new R&D projects and university appointments in support of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Space Update 2023, bringing its joint investment in the ACT to over $7 million.

With the launch of the ACT Space Update 2023, SmartSat is amplifying this commitment by injecting new funds into research in space technologies addressing bushfire resilience, spacecraft system autonomy, space objects surveillance and cybersecurity.

One of two new research projects co-funded by SmartSat and the ACT Government brings together the Australian National University (ANU) and EOS Space Systems to deliver advanced manufacturing technologies for the OzFuel instrument. This is a key payload of an Earth Observation Resilience satellite mission that aims to improve continental scale fire management and environmental monitoring tailored specifically to Australian Eucalypt forests.

The second project brings together Infinity Avionics, UNSW Canberra and Nominal Systems to develop capabilities in Space-Based Space Surveillance (SBSS), a vital tool for both defence and commercial space operations contending with the risks of navigating increasing debris and space objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

SmartSat has also recently approved funding research capabilities in cybersecurity and resilient artificial intelligence for space systems at UNSW Canberra. This is in addition to two SmartSat-backed Professorial Chairs at ANU: Professor Hanna Kurniawati, Professorial Chair for System Autonomy, Intelligence and Decision Making; and Professor Kirk McKenzie, Professorial Chair of Precision Measurement in Space.

“Since 2020, SmartSat has demonstrated its commitment to building the ACT’s space R&D capabilities, funding over ten projects at ANU and UNSW Canberra,” said SmartSat CEO Professor Andy Koronios, adding that the $7 million joint research investment in ACT demonstrates SmartSat’s commitment to supporting the national space sector.

“This fresh round of research investment by SmartSat delivers a rapid injection to the ACT Space Update. We believe it will have a force-multiplier effect on the development of space R&D capability in the ACT and provide direct support to the ANU’s broader Earth Observation Resilience Mission with critical technology.”

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