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Airbus confirms ‘core’ partnership with SmartSat CRC

Max Blenkin

Airbus has announced it is backing the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) as a core partner in a seven-year research program to develop and strengthen space technologies in Australia.

Airbus confirms ‘core’ partnership with SmartSat CRC
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Airbus said in teaming with Airbus, SmartSat CRC would capitalise on the company’s expertise and funding to strengthen sovereign space capabilities, unlocking significant opportunities to generate new space technologies.

“By supporting the Smartsat CRC as a core partner, we want to assist Australia in enhancing its space capabilities and competitiveness,” said Thomas Pfister, head of Airbus Defence and Space, Australasia.

“Our investment and first-class knowledge sharing will ensure opportunities are created for the next generation of space companies across Australia.”

The SmartSat CRC was launched last year and officially launched in Adelaide this week.

It’s the largest space industry-research collaboration in Australia’s history with the objective of developing the county’s space industry.

It’s already raised $245 million from more than 100 research organisations, the Australian government and from industry funding.

This investment is targeted at advanced telecommunications, intelligent satellite systems, Earth observation and remote sensing analytics.

The aim is to enable Australia to benefit from the 9.5 per cent growth rate across the global space industry, compared with the global economy growth of 2.5 per cent.

A key aim for the Airbus partnership with the SmartSat CRC is to help develop small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in space and to contribute to achieving the Australian Space Agency’s goal of generating an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.

This week, the SmartSat CRC announced its priority research areas, with development of accurate, reliable communications technology for disaster management following the disastrous summer of bushfires.

That will see SmartSat collaborate with NASA, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and local industry partner, Safety from Space, on a project with broad international implications.

In another project, SmartSat will work with partners and relevant agencies to establish a national network to monitor the quality and quantity of surface and ground water.

Called the AquaWatch Australia Mission, this project is to be undertaken in partnership with the CSIRO. It will feature a national mission to establish a mini constellation of dedicated AquaWatch satellites, complemented by a network of thousands of terrestrial water sensors uploading data continuously in near real-time.

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