All systems go for SmartSat CRC

South Australia will host a $245 million research effort focused on growing the nation’s space capabilities, thanks to a $55 million funding boost from the Australian Government.

Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews today announced the Government’s support of the SmartSat CRC (cooperative research centre), a University of South Australia and Nova Group-led consortium of over 85 industry, government and research organisations.

The CRC will operate over seven years and focus on research and development initiatives in niche areas of intelligent satellite systems, advanced communications and Earth Observation analytics.

Minister Andrews said the SmartSat CRC – Australia’s largest ever nationally coordinated ecosystem of space research and industry collaboration – would complement the work of the Australian Space Agency.

“This industry-led research collaboration involves a broad cross section of the Australian space industry, governments and the research sector,” she said.

“The SmartSat CRC will foster the creation of next generation space technologies and professionals, and make Australia more competitive in the US$350 billion global space economy.”

Bid Leader and SmartSat CEO designate, UniSA’s Professor Andy Koronios, says the CRC will be a game changer for Australia’s space economy.

“Globally space technologies and industries are worth more than $500 billion but that success has been underpinned by serious global investment in research,” Prof Koronios said.

“Australia has had a strong pedigree and a long history in space with excellent scientific capabilities in instrumentation and communications technologies but until now, the research has not been brought together to build a new industry for Australia, and to capitalise on the exponential growth of the global space economy.

“Our goal in bringing together the bid for SmartSat, was to show the huge potential and capacity there is in Australia to make an impact globally by developing leapfrogging technologies in areas where we have some of the best expertise on the planet – AI, advanced communications and remote sensing analytics.

While the new CRC will be headquartered at Lot Fourteen, South Australia’s newest innovation precinct, it is a national program and will involve some of the best universities in the country as well as the CSIRO and DST.

The funding provided by the Federal Government will be matched by $190 million in cash and in-kind contributions from the CRC’s partners.