Space technology in NSW is ready for take-off, with one of Australia’s leading space industry research centres chosen to lead NSW’s Space Qualification Mission, a key initiative of the NSW Space Industry Development Strategy.
The Australian Research Centre (ARC) for Cubesats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles and their Applications (CUAVA) will run project ‘Waratah Seed’, which will launch NSW-developed space technology into orbit to test and prove functionality.
Based within the University of Sydney, CUAVA 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.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the Space Qualification Mission program would tackle one of the biggest hurdles for the space sector, proving the technology works in space.
“This is a first – an Australian ride-share satellite, orbiting the earth 550km above us, that industry and researchers can use to test and prove the functionality of their tech – making getting started in the space industry more accessible and affordable,” Mr Ayres said.
“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 create jobs of the future.
“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,” Mr Ayres said.
CUAVA lead a consortium of NSW space sector organisations including ACSER (UNSW), Saber Astronautics, Delta-V, Macquarie University and UTS.
The launch of project ‘Waratah Seed’ follows the NSW’s launch earlier this year of the first Node of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which is facilitating grant programs to fund industry-research teaming and collaboration in the space sector.
CUAVA Director Professor Iver Cairns said project Waratah Seed represents a bold new approach to develop the space industry and overall space sector in NSW.
“Waratah Seed will be Australia’s first ride-share satellite – it will also be the first satellite funded by the NSW Government,” Professor Cairns said.
“The consortium is very excited to be working with the NSW Government on this project to build a vibrant, nation-leading space sector for NSW.”
Newly created Investment NSW will lead the delivery of the NSW Government’s Space Industry Development Strategy, first launched in January 2020, with the aim of making NSW the premier destination in the Asia-Pacific region to develop and commercialise space technology.