NSW FUNDING HARNESSES SPACE TECHNOLOGY TO SOLVE GLOBAL CHALLENGES

Friday, 05 November 2021

Radiation-tolerant space solar power, spacecraft technology for remote sensing missions and innovations in Earth observation data are just some of the projects being co-funded through nearly $370,000 from the NSW Government’s Space Demonstrator Program to overcome existing challenges using space technology.

The Space Demonstrator Program, delivered by the NSW Node of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) offers co-funding for projects of up to $100,000 for industry to partner with university researchers to delve into the future deployment of space technology.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and Minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said the projects have wide-ranging applications for agriculture, mining and resources, defence and security, transport, as well as bushfire and disaster management.

“We’re seeing industry-research collaborations to develop very low earth orbit spacecraft to further Australia’s private space industry and enhance applications in agriculture and disaster and bushfire monitoring,” Mr Ayres said.

“Supporting the ideas and innovations of the space industry is about more than creating the jobs of the future – it also helps us to engage our best and brightest researchers to solve global problems here on Earth.”

The co-funding recipients of the Space Demonstrator Program are:

  • $99,999 for Extraterrestrial Power and the University of NSW to develop extraterrestrial radiation tolerant silicon solar cells that can be mass-manufactured at low cost
  • $99,000 for HEO Robotics, the University of NSW, and Australian National University and Infinity Avionics to develop hybrid space-based cameras for target uncertainty
  • $87,619 for Space Ops Australia Pty Ltd and the University of Sydney to design a multi-spectral image satellite mission targeting a very low Earth orbit
  • $80,000 for Arlula and the CSIRO to research and develop an automated technical solution that solves the problem of integrating large commercial earth observation data workflows into open source and academic projects

SmartSat CRC NSW Node Coordinator Dr Tim Parsons said this first round of approved demonstrator projects represents a suite of novel new space technologies and capabilities.

“From cameras to solar panels, CubeSat design to earth observation data APIs, we look forward to seeing the outputs from these demonstrator projects in action in space. We are expecting more great proposals from this EOI call, and we have more programs coming - watch this space!”

Co-founder and CEO of HEO Robotics Dr William Crowe is one of the funding recipients.

“This co-funding will allow HEO Robotics to supercharge collaborations with our academic and industry partners, bringing forward space innovation born in NSW. Sydney in particular is getting a reputation globally for space-based sensing,” Dr Crowe said.

Mr Ayres also announced the opening of the Node’s Space Sector Mobility Program and the Access to R&D Infrastructure Program.

“The Space Sector Mobility Program will fund placements of up to six months within businesses or universities to provide a pathway for industry-research partnership development. The Access to R&D Infrastructure Program will provide successful applicants with access to research equipment, laboratory space and related infrastructure,” Mr Ayres said.

SmartSat CRC Chief Executive Officer Professor Andy Koronios said NSW was developing impressive space capabilities.

“We at SmartSat are delighted to see our investments provide R&D opportunities for NSW space companies with these first demonstrator projects. Through this call for project proposals, we’re going to continue to grow our partnership with the NSW Government and unleash a torrent of exciting innovations from NSW’s fast-growing space sector,” Professor Koronios said.

The Space Demonstrator, Space Sector Mobility, and Access to R&D Infrastructure Programs will assess applications on a rolling basis. To find out more about the Node’s funding opportunities, visit https://smartsatcrc.com/about/nsw-node/