$6.1 Million Investment in Space Research and Education Announced
On the 17th June, Senator Kim Carr announced the following projects would be funded under the 4th round of the Australian Space Research Program (ASRP). This investment will help build skills and capability in Australia needed to address major issues that affect our quality of life like health care, food production and climate change.
A Comprehensive Tertiary Education Program in Satellite Systems Engineering
The project will develop and deliver a comprehensive, sustainable tertiary education program in satellite systems engineering comprising a two-year master’s qualification. The project is led by the University of New South Wales in collaboration with a world class consortium which includes Australia’s only satellite owner and operator, Optus, the multi-national Thales Group, and France’s Institut Superieur de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace. The developed program will be optimised for Australia’s strategic and commercial interests and deliver a ‘systems-wide’ understanding of satellite systems and their applications, from the space segment, to the ground operations, and the end users. International and local industry internships and student exchanges will be incorporated into the program to enhance the skills of graduates.
The Australian Plasma Thruster Project
The Australian Plasma Thruster project will aim to develop a spaceflight ready Australian plasma thruster design based on the helicon double layer technology invented and developed at the Australian National University. If successful it will find a market in satellite propulsion systems, including for station-keeping, end-of-life satellite insertion into graveyard orbit, and ultimately for deep space missions. The project will also develop and build a large Space Simulation Facility (S2F) at the ANU’s Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre at Mt Stromlo in the ACT. The S2F will incorporate a thermal/vacuum test capability that will allow the final stage of development and testing of the plasma thruster technology. The facility will also be available for use by other Australian researchers and industry for testing purposes.
Greenhouse Gas Monitor
The Greenhouse Gas Monitor project will develop an innovative sensor to measure greenhouse gases nationally and globally. The project will tie the measurements to observations by satellites in order to provide global coverage. Additionally it will develop modelling and analysis tools to interpret the data, thereby advancing scientific understanding of the carbon cycle and providing policy relevant information of sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. The improved information on the distribution of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere resulting from the project will mean better monitoring and management of the roles of agriculture, forestation and deforestation as CO2 sources and sinks, more reliable weather forecasts and more sensitive detection of climate change. The project will also increase Australian capability in the design, build and test of advanced remote sensing instruments.