ANU and UNSW Canberra to build and test space instruments


Australian National University’s (ANU) Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) and UNSW Canberra have entered a new agreement to jointly build and test satellites and space instruments.

As part of the new agreement, ANU’s Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with UNSW Canberra.

Under the new deal, a team from UNSW Canberra will provide a set of engineering and technical skills, as well as experience gained through the development of CubeSats.

The collaboration is also expected to provide end-to-end capabilities to conduct various space mission and payload design, assembly and testing.

"The AITC establishes these strategic partnerships to focus the facilities and talent Australia needs to build its own domestic space industry."

Noting that the partnership will strengthen Australian space industry, AITC director professor Anna Moore said: “As a part of our mission as a national university, the AITC establishes these strategic partnerships to focus the facilities and talent Australia needs to build its own domestic space industry.

“This endeavour will provide a significant new pathway to answering important questions in environmental science, defence, space physics and astronomy.”

AITC currently hosts a space testing facility at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and complex equipment that can reproduce the vibration shock of rocket launches and the extreme temperatures found in the vacuum of space.

It is involved in designing and manufacturing advanced optical and laser instrumentation, as well as scientific payloads. The centre has also taken part in major international space missions.


Image: CubeSat testing in the space simulator at ANU AITC. Photo: courtesy of Stuart Hay via ANU.