UniSA welcomes a powerhouse in space partnership


The Federal Government’s announcement that the Australian Space Agency will be based in Adelaide is outstanding news for South Australia and its university sector, according to UniSA’s Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Professor Tanya Monro.

Find out about UniSA’s space expertise.

Adelaide beat strong competition from other states to secure the headquarters, which will be based at Lot Fourteen, the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site, which is being transformed into an innovation precinct.

Prof Monro says the decision will strengthen South Australia’s long and proud history in space technology and further the State’s expertise and international collaborations associated with space education, business and innovation

“We are hopeful that this announcement will also strengthen our bid for one of the largest Cooperative Research Centres in Australian history to develop smart satellites, a $200 million bid being led by UniSA and engaging almost 70 partners. 

“Not everyone would realise just how much space-related research and expertise is based here and the strong relationships we have with industries engaged in the development of leading-edge space industry technologies, including satellite systems and their applications.

“At UniSA we have been working in space science dating back to the 1990s with the Institute of Telecommunications Research, our role in the launch of FedSat in 2002 and our longstanding partnership with the International Space University, which holds its summer education program at UniSA every year. “And in the past few years we have been instrumental in supporting the development of high potential start-ups like UniSA spinout company Myriota, which is developing small satellite technologies for the coming global transformation that the Internet of Things will deliver.”

Building on space-related education and research

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says UniSA has built a strong reputation in space-related education and research in the past 20 years, particularly in the fields of satellite engineering, operations and applications.

“In July, we also announced a new program (Venture Catalyst Space) in partnership with the State Government to support start-ups and entrepreneurs to enter the growing space industry market. With Adelaide now taking centre stage as home of Australia’s new Space Agency, this program will – without doubt – encourage huge interest in the years ahead.”

Since 2004, UniSA has been running the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies program in collaboration with the International Space University, which has gone from strength to strength.

“And in 2017 we teamed up with the University of Adelaide to develop one of 50 CubeSats as part of the global QB50 initiative, one of four Australian satellites to be built over 15 years,” Prof Lloyd says.

“Australia’s space industry is estimated to be worth about 0.8 per cent of the global space market. With Adelaide in the box seat, the State – and UniSA – will play a significant role in boosting this revenue stream to around 1.8 per cent on current projections,” Prof Lloyd says.

UniSA Dean of Research and Industry Professor Andy Koronios says the location of the Space Agency in South Australia will enhance UniSA’s contribution to the space industry through its leadership in a proposed Cooperative Research Centre in intelligent satellite systems (SmartSat) which it is co-leading with Nova Systems.

“This CRC, if successful, will be a national collaboration of researchers and industry,” Prof Koronios says.
“The bid has already attracted more than 70 participants, who have committed nearly $200 million to develop game-changing technologies and help the Space Agency to build the Australian space industry and deliver wealth for the whole nation.”

The Australian Space Agency will be located in Adelaide by mid-2019 and employ 20 full-time equivalent staff.