About UNSW Canberra Space Research


UNSW Canberra Space Vision and Strategic Direction

Vision Statement

Through provision of strategic vision and leadership, underpinned by world-class research and education, consolidate UNSW into one of the leading institution in space research, education and thinking in Australia and beyond.

Space Research

UNSW Canberra is investing $10M in the coming years to strengthen our space research activities and develop a sustainable university-led program to undertake research in space. A capability is being established to routinely conceptualise, develop and fly affordable responsible in-orbit missions to perform innovative research in space.

Our in-orbit missions will enable the development of innovative new technologies for spacecraft, including distributed, networked experiments and sensors across formations, swarms and assemblies of cubesats.

We will use that capability to perform high impact science and technology development that will in turn make a significant contribution to meeting Australia’s (and the international community's) need for safe and secure access to space-based technologies for strategic, economic and social benefit.

Space Education

Space systems are complex. The challenge for professionals involved in defining, acquiring, operating and/or utilising space systems is stepping away from ongoing demands and duties to obtain the relevant up-skilling. UNSW Canberra offers two specialised Master degree programs, in both distance education and intensive delivery modes, for such professionals – the Master of Space Engineering and the Master of Space Operations.

Both programs make extensive use of real-life case studies from the experiences of UNSW Canberra and guest lecturers, which includes over 20 international space missions. Both are informed by UNSW Canberra’s space research effort. The Master of Space Engineering has been operating successfully since 2013, while the Master of Space Operations commenced in 2015.

In addition, we offer the opportunity to tailor intensive short courses for your organisation's needs, extracting and delivering key content from the master's programs and from our experience and approach to developing and operating cubesat-based in-orbit SRT missions.

Space Thinking

UNSW Canberra is playing a leading role in shaping Australia’s evolving conversation and thinking about space.

The nation is currently experiencing an awakening in space. Australia’s national space policy, released in 2013 as “Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy”, outlines a pragmatic approach to sustainable engagement with space, to ensure national security and economic, environmental and social well-being. Included is recognition of the need for development of a national Space Situational Awareness (SSA) capability, to mitigate against the growing risk of loss of space-based assets from collision with other space objects. Policy development, influence of international regulatory frameworks, domestic coordination, and international cooperation are critical.

UNSW Canberra’s investment in space thus occurs at a time in which Australia’s direction in space is beginning to crystallise, capabilities are beginning to emerge, and government policy is taking shape. UNSW Canberra has a significant opportunity to build on the credibility of world class research and education, to offer strategic vision and thought leadership for the Australian space community.

We will achieve this through: participation in and leadership of relevant national committees and professional associations; establishing a space conversation, with expertise across multiple disciplines invited to engage in strategic think-tanking; investment in major domestic and international space conferences; engagement with government – to promote sensible Australian space technology development and to help address and improve existing regulatory frameworks such as the Space Activities Act; and encourage and enable international dialogue in which Australia can provide leadership.