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New satellite CRC brings together leading Australian research and industry

One of the most significant space industry research concentrations in Australia, the new Cooperative Research Centre for Smart Satellite Technologies and Analytics – The SmartSat CRC – has been launched in South Australia.

The new CRC is a national research powerhouse involving a $190 million investment in cash and in-kind from 82 research and industry partners.

With the addition of $55 million of federal government funding through the Department of Industry, Science and Technology’s successful CRC program, the SmartSat CRC will be the biggest investment in space industry research and development in our history. It is set to help meet the Australian Space Agency’s goal of lifting Australia’s space industry to $12 billion, generating an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.

The bid was led by the University of South Australia (UniSA) in partnership with Nova Systems. Swinburne University of Technology will be a significant partner.

Bid leader and SmartSat CEO designate, UniSA’s Professor Andy Koronios, said the CRC will be a game changer for Australia’s space economy.

“Globally space technologies and industries are worth more than $500 billion but that success has been underpinned by serious global investment in research,” Professor Koronios said.

“Australia has had a strong pedigree and a long history in space with excellent scientific capabilities in instrumentation and communications technologies but until now, the research has not been brought together to build a new industry for Australia, and to capitalise on the exponential growth of the global space economy.

“Our goal in bringing together the bid for SmartSat was to show the huge potential and capacity there is in Australia to make an impact globally by developing leapfrogging technologies in areas where we have some of the best expertise on the planet – AI, advanced communications and remote sensing analytics,” Professor Koronios said.

“We are excited to bring Swinburne’s world-leading capabilities in astronomical data processing and visualisation to bear on the enormous opportunities the SmartSat CRC will bring to drive the growth of the Australian space industry,” said Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Development) Professor Aleksandar Subic.

“The challenges facing our industry partners within the CRC are of a global scale and we can help solve them with the cutting-edge machine learning and AI techniques developed at Swinburne as part of our internationally recognised Industry 4.0 capability.”

The new CRC will be headquartered in South Australia but will establish state nodes to ensure that the whole of the nation is involved in the development of smart satellite technologies which will meet Australia’s needs to secure its defence, telecommunications and monitoring technologies into the future.

Other partners in the CRC include Australian-based global companies such as AIRBUS, BAE, MDA, Northrop Grumman, Saab, SciSys, Dassault Systems, and THALES; Australian companies – Nova Systems, OPTUS, SHOAL, and FrontierSI; Australian startups – including X-Lab, Myriota, Fluorosat, Fleet, Innovor, Lyrebird, Delta-V and x-lab; Australian universities and research organisations – UniSA, ANU, UNSW, RMIT, QUT, Curtin, CSIRO, DST, the Universities of Queensland, Adelaide, Western Australia and Western Sydney; and international collaborators, UCL, Catapult, NASA, the European Space Agency and the National University of Singapore among many more.

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