SmartSat CRC to support UN push for sustainable development

Stephen Kuper

The SmartSat CRC has announced a partnership with Hamilton Secondary College students to assist space scientists in tackling the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

SmartSat CRC to support UN push for sustainable development
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This collaboration between high school students and some of Australia’s leading space scientists to identify project ideas using satellite technologies to address global challenges such the protection of our planet, ending poverty, ensuring peace and many of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Students will be able to participate in this initiative by identifying an SDG and developing a project using space technologies to address one of the UN’s SDGs. 

For example, one of the SDGs is universal education. Satellite technology can provide truly universal communication and connectivity across the planet so that children in classrooms in Adelaide can collaborate in Birdsville, Sydney and in developing countries in Asia or Africa in real-time virtual classrooms.

Professor Andy Koronios, CEO of SmartSatCRC, said, "This joint initiative between SmartSatCRC and Hamilton Secondary College aims to make young students aware of the sustainability challenges we are facing, and the potential for space-based technological solutions to achieve the goals identified by the UN, assisted by some of Australia’s leading space experts; our young innovative minds will no doubt come up with the ideas that will enable us to use space technologies to ensure that we leave our planet in a better state than we have found it, for our sake and for the sake of future generations."

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The United Nations has identified 17 SDGs to address global challenges related to environment, climate, poverty, peace and justice. The SDGs recognise the connection between people and the planet, and changes we can make to maintain our land, oceans, climate and global health.

"The SmartSat CRC is focusing on inspiring young people to pursue careers in space by building a culture of entrepreneurship and igniting a curiosity for space among students through a space-related STEM program," Professor Koronios explained.

The SmartSat CRC STEM and industry development programs are designed to link with relevant curricula in Australian schools and educational institutions to promote STEM teaching and learning through space activity. Although this program will be launched at Hamilton Secondary College, it will be available to other interested secondary schools and it is one of a number of such initiatives that the SmartSat CRC will offer.

Peta Kourbelis, principal of Hamilton Secondary College, welcomed the opportunities provided as a result of the collaboration agreement, saying, "With a growing space industry and increasing job opportunities, now is the time to inspire the next generation of space entrepreneurs, engineers and researchers.

"South Australian schools, industry and government work cohesively to ensure STEM subjects are a priority in the school curriculum, while building a culture of entrepreneurship and igniting a curiosity for space at an early age," Kourbelis added. 

The new SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre is one of the most significant space industry-research collaborations ever forged in Australia. This research powerhouse brings together over 85 national and international partners who have invested over $190 million. Together with $55 million in federal government funding, this represents a $245 million research effort over seven years.

The SmartSat CRC will develop Australian technologies, which will build an industry and create thousands of jobs and will catalyse the transformation and growth of major industries such as mining, agriculture, transport and logistics. It will focus on next-generation technologies in the following three key areas:

  • Advanced communications, connectivity and internet of things ( IoT) technologies;
  • Advanced satellite systems, sensor and intelligence; and
  • Next-generation Earth observation data services.

Hamilton Secondary College is home to the state’s first South Australian Space School. The specialist school includes a new Space Centre, featuring an interactive Mars landscape and control room, with students exercising STEM skills to solve space and Earth science-related problems.

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