University of Sydney to be home to Australia’s space future

On Tuesday, June 18, Senator Arthur Sinodinos and Minister for Education Dan Tehan, announced that the University of Sydney will host the Australian Research Council (ARC) Training Centre for CubeSats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles, and their Applications (CUAVA).

The federal government is investing $4.6 million in the centre to advance manufacturing processes for both commercial and civil space outcomes.

The centre will focus in particular on small satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles and has a wide range of applications.

“Improvements in these areas could mean great advancements in existing satellite systems used for earth and weather observations, high-speed communication and GPS. These devices have major commercial value for the Australian economy,” said Tehan.

Currently, CUAVA is working on CUAVA 1, which will be involved with certifying advanced communication, remote sensing, GPS and other space environment instruments, with data being sent back to Earth.

“Within the next year, we will be launching our first satellite and new instruments into orbit and performing our first Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAV) campaign,” said director of CUAVA, Iver Cairns.

While the main focus of Australia’s nascent space industry has been in South Australia, where the Australian Space Agency is located, this training centre leverages its connection with the University of Sydney to support research and the training of future members of the space sector.

“The training centre will develop a skilled workforce to grow the local space industry and capitalise on global opportunities,” said Sinodinos.

As one of the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Training Centres, CUAVA works at the junction of higher education and industry, with pathways for higher degree by research students and post-doctoral candidates to partner with industry. Industry partners include Space BC Inc.

“We are thrilled to be working with our 11 partners, including three industry partners, four government labs, and three Australian universities and two American universities,” said Cairns.