Research Approach

Research Approach

The approach to achieve our research goals will supplement 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.

There is no intention to reinvent the wheel. COTS cubesats and ground-station systems and cubesat launch service providers will 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; and 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 6 year time frame.

Thus the critical activities are:

  • Engineering – the basic enabling activities for regular in-orbit research
    • 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)
  • Research – the in-orbit (and supporting ground-based) science and innovations
    • 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)