• Cornwall-based Goonhilly ground station, which is capable of communicating with satellites over the US and Asia.
    Cornwall-based Goonhilly ground station, which is capable of communicating with satellites over the US and Asia. Goonhilly

British satellite communications station Goonhilly Earth Station (GES) has joined the consortium backing the SmartSat CRC (co-operative research centre), an Australian space research initiative with plans to drive domestic space industry through satellite technologies and analytics.

Goonhilly is a satellite station on Goonhilly Downs in Cornwall. Built in 1962, the station was involved in broadcasts of the Apollo 11 moon landings through its heritage-listed 26-metre Antenna 1 dish, nicknamed ‘Arthur’.

The site was run by BT until 2008 before it was taken over by GES in 2011. Customers now include SES, Intelsat, Eutelsat and Inmarsat, as well as space agencies, governments, and broadcasters.

The 67-member Australian SmartSat CRC consortium, developed earlier this year, is led by the University of South Australia (UniSA), Airbus, and Nova Systems, and also includes Harris Corporation, Thales Australia, BAE Systems, Dassault Systems, and other space engineering companies. The consortium also has agreed partnerships with NASA, Japanese space agency JAXA, UK Catapult, and University College London (UCL).

The CRC’s goal is to “catapult Australia’s space industry into a leadership position in several areas including intelligent satellite systems, advanced communications, and earth observation driven data analytics.”

The research consortium aims to co-develop intellectual property and specialist industry expertise that will apply space technologies and space-related data to areas ranging from agriculture and the environment to healthcare and disaster detection and management.

In a statement, the consortium said it is now preparing the final stage application for submission to the government, outlining the organisation’s parameters, and discussing funding.

“With its technological and commercial expertise, as well as its expanding capabilities and resources, we are confident that Goonhilly will make a significant contribution to the SmartSat CRC,” Professor Andy Koronios, Dean of Industry and Enterprise at UniSA, said.

“The space industry is a global one and Goonhilly is well poised to support Australian organisations as they look to extend their reach,” Dr Bob Gough, Head of Business Development, Australia & Asia-Pacific at Goonhilly, said.

“At our UK site we offer world-class satellite capacity with visibility spanning 145° west to 135° east. This is complemented by our connectivity with bundles of subsea cables and fibre, and our new multi-million-dollar datacentre.”

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