The University of Sydney (USYD) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will co-host a new NSW Space Research Network, to be located at Tech Central and supported by $1.4 million in funding from the NSW government.
The NSW Space Research Network builds on the release of the NSW Space Industry Development Strategy, minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said.
“This investment will bring together universities, industry and government to tackle space challenges, translate vital research into commercial space products, attract investment, upskill graduates and drive growth in high-tech jobs,” Ayres said.
“The Network will build on NSW’s cutting-edge space R&D to support NSW enterprise, to compete both locally and globally by leveraging significant domestic and international funding opportunities.”
NSW is currently home to over a third of Australia’s space startups and has established space R&D infrastructure through its universities and centres of excellence.
“NSW offers an extensive network of ground stations including CSIRO’s Australian Telescope National Facility installations at Narrabri, Coonabarabran and Parkes, the Optus Earth Station in Sydney and the Commonwealth government’s defence satellite station in Wagga Wagga,” Ayres said.
“The Network will position NSW enterprise to compete in the space sector by connecting key stakeholders to undertake R&D activities, with a focus on translation and impact,” USYD professor and NSW Space Research Network co-director Stefan Williams said.
USYD is currently involved with several projects in the $150 million Moon to Mars Demonstrator Feasibility Initiative in collaboration with NASA. It is supporting Australian businesses to enter global supply chains for the NASA program to return to the Moon by 2024, and to land humans on Mars.
These projects include research on drilling, inference and navigation for geological operations, and working with Abyss Solutions to develop robotics for asset inspection and repairs for spaceborne operations.
The university also leads an ARC Industry Transformation Centre focused on developing next generation satellite technologies and is a partner in the SmartSat CRC.
The new Network will help solve common challenges for industry, government and research organisations in trying to facilitate growth along the innovation value chain – from research collaboration to workforce and facilities, through to securing exports and investment.
“The new network will support collaboration between government and industry to deliver space-focused research outcomes and research translation for NSW, Australia and the world,” UTS professor and NSW Space Research Network co-director Robert Fitch said.
UTS leads space-related research activity in areas ranging from advanced antenna systems for satellite communications, to critical supporting technologies such as advanced manufacturing for space systems.
UTS also partners with leading space SMEs such as Space Machines, to support the growth of the space industry locally by providing access to its research and development facilities, including the UTS Tech Lab in Botany.
The NSW Space Research Network will leverage other space-related activities in the precinct, including the NSW Node of the SmartSat CRC and the new National Space Industry Hub.