Manufacturing News

CUAVA wins funding for NSW Space Qualification Mission


The Australian Research Council Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs and their Applications (CUAVA) has been chosen to lead the pilot Space Qualification Mission by the NSW government. 

The Space Qualification Mission code-named “Waratah Seed,” will launch NSW-developed space technology payloads into orbit, to demonstrate their operation in space and test their commercial plans and services. It will develop, build and launch a satellite carrying payloads developed by NSW space businesses and start-ups. 

The Space Qualification Mission program will tackle one of the biggest hurdles for space sector businesses, being able to prove their technology works in space, according to NSW minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres. 

“NSW is home to almost half of Australia’s space-related businesses and generates around half of all space-related revenue nationally – there is no better place to support space technology research and development to the create jobs of the future,” Ayres said. 

“CUAVA is leading the way in developing the space technology of the future and training the people that will use it. They are an outstanding choice to take charge of this mission.” 

The project will be led by CUAVA director Professor Iver Cairns from the University of Sydney. It will include ACSER at the University of NSW, Saber Astronautics, Delta-V, Macquarie University and the University of Technology Sydney. 

“Waratah Seed represents a bold new approach to develop the space industry in NSW. It combines a selection competition for payloads from NSW space industry groups with payloads from a commercial client program, both of them firsts,” Cairns said. 

“We will engage with the public, space industry companies and other payload groups across the state, not just in Sydney, to deliver the project and help build a vibrant NSW space industry.” 

CUAVA, based at the University of Sydney, is working to enhance and innovate the applications of CubeSats, a new class of small satellites, and uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) for Earth observations, GPS, satellite communications and space weather purposes. 

Before beginning the project, CUAVA will launch its satellite CUAVA-1 from Cape Canaveral in August 2021.  It will be the first satellite designed, developed and launched by the Training Centre. CUAVA-1 will fly first-generation experimental payloads developed by students and other researchers at CUAVA’s partner institutions. 

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