Our Approach

Our Approach

UNSW Canberra Space supplements its existing strengths and personnel with new expertise to establish the critical engineering and scientific activities through which regular in-orbit space research capability can be created and continued.

However, there is no intention to reinvent the wheel - COTS cubesats and ground-station systems and cubesat launch service providers all form inputs to UNSW Canberra's effort.

In parallel, and in collaboration with strategic partners where advantageous, we are:

  • assembling the talent pool
  • performing the engineering required to put cubesats into orbit, as an enabling capability
  • developing the science, the instrumentation and the formation flying technology for those cubesats, to enable in-orbit research of national significance to be performed within a six year time frame


Thus our critical activities are:

1. Engineering - the basic enabling activities for regular in-orbit research. This includes:

  • Assembly and development of a satellite flight team
  • Acquisition, payload integration, software development and test & evaluation of COTS cubesats
  • Satellite launch (piggy-back launch opportunities, while maintaining a view towards dedicated nanosat launch service providers)
  • Space operations (ground station access and control)


2. Research - the in-orbit (and supporting ground-based) science and innovations, which are:

  • Space Situational Awareness (high-fidelity spacecraft/debris aerodynamics; advanced orbit propagation/astrodynamics; leading to and informed by improved space surveillance)
  • Advanced Instrumentation (ground-based for surveillance/tracking; space-based for in-orbit measurements)
  • Satellite formation flying (inter-satellite communications; autonomous formation-flying Guidance, Navigation & Control (GNC))
  • Space technology development (innovative propulsion, structures, thermal control and mission concepts, with ground-based simulation and test)