Space program takes off in Adelaide with record numbers

ISU COMMUNITY

Students designed, built and launched rockets that they sent almost one kilometre into the sky as part of the biggest ever summer space studies program hosted by UniSA.

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation Professor Tanya Monro with SHSSP participant Jade Chantrell
UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation Professor Tanya Monro with SHSSP participant Jade Chantrell at the Government, Industry and Universities Partnering in Space Economy Development event.

Fifty participants from 15 countries converged on UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus for the 2018 Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program (SHSSP) – the largest cohort in the seven-year history of the program.

The program is an intensive, five-week, live-in experience which gives students an opportunity to learn about space applications, space policy and space services, plus an overview of the principles and concepts involved in space science, space systems engineering and technology – all areas of knowledge required by space professionals.

The program is jampacked with workshops, research projects, lectures and free public events including a panel discussion with South Korea’s first astronaut, Dr Soyeon Yi, who shared her experiences from the Korean astronaut program and her time in space.

Another highlight was the launch of a space balloon from Serafino Wines in McLaren Vale. Students launched a helium balloon with a specially built satellite payload into the stratosphere over the Adelaide region.

Co-director of the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program and UniSA adjunct senior lecturer Dr Ady James with South Korea’s first astronaut, Dr Soyeon Yi.
Co-director of the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program and UniSA adjunct senior lecturer Dr Ady James with South Korea’s first astronaut, Dr Soyeon Yi.

Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program co-director and UniSA adjunct senior lecturer Dr Ady James, says the high-altitude balloon payloads are designed to simulate a small satellite mission.

“The payload collected visible and infrared images that were transmitted to ground stations with new telecommunications technology called WENET, developed by the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group (AREG) and staff from UniSA,” Dr James says.

“The participants then process the imagery from the payload and display the results in near real-time.”

As well as launching a balloon into the stratosphere, the students also designed, built and launched model rockets to altitudes of up to 900 metres.

It was the first time the International Space University’s model rocket program has been conducted in Australia. The event was co-hosted by the International Space University, UniSA and the Adelaide Advanced Rocketry Club.

 A model rocket in Crows colours was launched to celebrate the start of the AFL women’s season.
A model rocket in Crows colours was launched to celebrate the start of the AFL women’s season.

Students worked in teams of four to build and design their own model rocket which had to reach an altitude of 900 metres carrying raw eggs over Pinkerton Plains. In addition, a special model rocket in Crows colours was launched to celebrate the start of the AFLW season.

Other public events included an ethics in space talk by Dr Jacques Arnould and a public lecture, Are We Alone? about the possibility of extra-terrestrial life by Dr Charley Lineweaver.

A panel of industry, government and university experts discussed their roles in developing a sustainable space sector in South Australia in the Government, Industry and Universities Partnering in Space Economy Development event, which was supported by the City of Salisbury. The panel included City of Salisbury councillor Graham Reynolds, UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation Professor Tanya Monro, Lockheed Martin Australia general manager Jack Mahoney, Saab Director Strategy & Emerging Markets Wayne Agutter, SpeedCast Australia senior director business development Mike Kenneally, South Australian Space Industry Centre director Nicola Sasaneilli and moderator Michael Davis (from the Space Industry Association of Australia).

The International Space University and UniSA have signed a memorandum of understanding for the SHSSP program to continue in Adelaide for at least the next five years, strengthening cooperation between both universities and supporting Australia’s plans to strengthen its global space presence and launch a new national space program coordinated by a new space agency.

The 2018 program ended with a closing ceremony on 16 February.

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