UNSW Canberra collaborating on space communications

UNSW Canberra collaborating on space communications
25.11.19

UNSW Canberra and Canberra based SME Clearbox Systems have been successful in securing Commonwealth funding to undertake a collaborative research project.

The successful research project will see experts from UNSW Canberra Space work alongside Clearbox Systems focusing on Space Situational Awareness (SSA), which is centred around mitigating the risks associated with the hazard of orbital collisions in the congested near-Earth orbits.

The key activities undertaken as part of the grant will be determining the most appropriate spacecraft signals to enhance SSA, and devising methods to extract information, including spacecraft trajectory information from those signals.

It is expected that there will be at least a 20-fold increase in the number of active Low Earth Orbit satellites in the next 5 years, and a similar increase in the total mass in low earth orbit. This project will enhance tracking and knowledge of the behaviour of these satellites.

UNSW Canberra Space Director Russell Boyce said that this collaboration will make progress in a priority area for the Australian space research community, and is bringing together academia and industry to deliver real world solutions addressing user needs and opportunities.

“Australia makes an important contribution to global space collision avoidance. This research will raise the bar and enhance that contribution even further,” he said.

Jeremy Hallett, Executive Director of Clearbox Systems, said the company is excited to be working with UNSW Canberra Space, and can see this as knocking on the door of major opportunities in the world of SSA.

“We have deep expertise in Satellite Communications and believe we can adapt this for SSA applications. However, we believe our best chance of success will come through collaboration which is at the core of our business. By engaging closely and often with institutions like UNSW Canberra, it will enable us to sharpen our focus and accelerate new product development,” he said.

The funding was awarded as part of the Innovation Connections grant program. Innovation Connections assists businesses to understand their research needs, connect with the research sector and fund collaborative research projects.

UNSW Canberra Space is a world-class team with facilities to enable end-to-end space mission capability. From its base at UNSW Canberra, the team play a leading role in shaping and developing the Australian space industry to meet global challenges.

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