The NSW Government has selected the Australian Research Council Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs, and their Applications (CUAVA) to lead a space qualification mission which forms a key part of its Space Industry Development Strategy.
The mission will launch NSW-developed space technology payloads into orbit to demonstrate their operation in space and test their commercial plans and services.
Code-named ‘Waratah Seed’, the project consortium will be led by CUAVA Director Professor Iver Cairns from the University of Sydney and will include ACSER at the University of NSW, Saber Astronautics, Delta-V, Macquarie University, and the University of Technology Sydney.
Project Waratah Seed will develop, build, and launch a satellite carrying payloads developed by NSW space businesses and start-ups.
NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the Space Qualification Mission program would tackle one of the biggest hurdles for space sector businesses, being able to prove their technology works in space.
“NSW is home to almost half of Australia’s space-related businesses and generates around half of all space-related revenue nationally – there is no better place to support space technology research and development to the create jobs of the future,” said Minister Ayres.
“CUAVA is leading the way in developing the space technology of the future and training the people that will use it. They are an outstanding choice to take charge of this mission.”
CUAVA Director Professor Iver Cairns added, “Waratah Seed represents a bold new approach to develop the space industry in NSW.
“It combines a selection competition for payloads from NSW space industry groups with payloads from a commercial client program, both of them firsts.
“We will engage with the public, space industry companies and other payload groups across the state, not just in Sydney, to deliver the project and help build a vibrant NSW space industry.”
Based at the University of Sydney and funded by the Australian Research Council, CUAVA is working to enhance and innovate the applications of CubeSats, a new class of small satellites, and uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), for Earth observations, GPS, satellite communications and space weather purposes.
Before starting the Waratah Seed project, CUAVA will launch its satellite, CUAVA-1, from Cape Canaveral in August 2021. It will be the first satellite designed, developed, and launched by the Training Centre. CUAVA-1 will fly first-generation experimental payloads developed by students and other researchers at CUAVA’s partner institutions.