Satellite camera built by La Trobe University engineers launches into space

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Image Credit: SpaceX

An advanced high-resolution camera, partly developed by engineers from La Trobe University, was launched at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida onboard Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Friday.
The earth sensing imaging spectromoter, developed and constructed by the German Aerospace Centre in partnership with La Trobe University, will be used to more accurately monitor the Earth’s ecosystem.
The camera will take three days to reach the International Space Station, where it will be integrated onto the station’s imaging platform to monitor bushfires, floods, ash clouds, storms, rainfall, and drought across the world.

Once installed, the camera will transmit data to the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at La Trobe and to ESS Weathertech – a Melbourne-based company specialising in designing and manufacturing satellite ground stations, who have established a ground station to receive imagery.

The partnership between La Trobe and the German Aerospace Centre is the first of its kind for an Australian university.
In a media statement, Victoria’s Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll said the partnership demonstrated Victoria’s capabilities in developing and manufacturing space technology.

“This high-resolution camera is a real game-changer – it’ll help monitor natural disasters and environmental changes across the globe, some 400 kilometres in outer space,” Carroll said.
The Victorian Government has stepped up its campaign for Victoria to play a key role in the new Australian Space Agency, which officially starts its work this week in Canberra.
Megan Clark, who will lead the Australian Space Agency for the first year, told Manufacturers’ Monthly that the Agency will be working closely with the states and territories and hear their proposals before deciding on the best location for the agency.

“In its first 12 months, the agency will focus on two things: working to open the doors internationally, and engaging with states and territories as to how they can hep us engage with industry and research in their state or territory and put forward a recommendation to the government for the best strategic location,” she said.


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