The ASPI space conference last week saw industry take the opportunity to announce their own research plans in the space realm.
Nicolas Chamussy, head of Space Systems Airbus, travelled to Australia to announce that Airbus will become a founding member of the proposed SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), led by the University of South Australia and Nova Systems.
Airbus’ planned seven year commitment of funding will further the CRC’s research agenda, particularly its ‘Intelligent Satellite Systems’, a theme that aligns with Airbus’ strategy for building resilient and autonomous space-based systems.
Airbus is also working with the University of New South Wales in Canberra and its spin-off space company Skykraft, to develop hyperspectral remote sensing technology. The two organisations today signed a memorandum of understanding to further their collaboration.
In speaking of the partnerships, Nicolas Chamussy outlined the company’s long term view.
“We want to “walk the talk” and we are determined to do so. Airbus is proud to partner with local industry on dedicated space projects. It is our intention to work with academia, SMEs and start-ups to develop Australia’s space sovereign capability, nurturing and developing areas of strategic priority and leapfrog technologies identified by the ERG panel.
“Airbus could help Australia in concentrating on new disruptive areas while achieving strategic agreements with international industries and space agencies” Chamussy said.
He also outlined how the company has been working with other nations to help grow their own space capabilities, citing the example of Peru where Airbus is providing a range of space services but also training local operators in how to best make use of their assets.
The company is also working towards the OneWeb program that is aiming to provide high-speed internet access to everyone by leveraging a constellation of roughly 900 small low cost satellites. Airbus will be making 15 small satellites a week when the program reaches it peak.
“Mass production and satellites have never been used in the same sentence,” Greg Wyler, Founder and Chairman of OneWeb said. “Each satellite used to be handcrafted by hundreds of engineers. Until now. OneWeb is changing things.”