• The Astrosite is a mobile space situational awareness (SSA) module.
Sally Tsoutas
    The Astrosite is a mobile space situational awareness (SSA) module. Sally Tsoutas

A revolutionary and world-first approach to space imaging led by Western Sydney University’s International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS) was demonstrated for the first time publicly at this year’s Avalon Airshow.

The Astrosite, a mobile space situational awareness (SSA) module, is set to have game-changing impacts on a number of fields, including Defence.

Using biologically-inspired event-based cameras – cameras that function like the eye and brain to overcome limitations of cameras exposure times and saturation – the Astrosite can capture objects in space with unprecedented temporal resolution, and during the day in real time.

According to Professor André van Schaik, Director of ICNS, the technique could be the key to making space a safer place.

“With tens of thousands of man-made objects currently orbiting in space, the risk of collision between debris, satellites and spacecraft is real. This has become a serious concern not only for organisations with a commercial interest in space, but also for national and international defence agencies.

“By using technology inspired by nature and biology, we have developed a dynamic imaging system that runs faster, computes more efficiently, uses far less power and produces less data than anything currently on the market,” Professor van Schaik said.

Defence application of this technology has already sparked interest, with the RAAF’s Plan Jericho supporting the design and development of the Astrosite.

 “The potential uses of this technology are endless. For example, the Astrosite can observe high-speed phenomena such as satellites and provide early warnings of potential collisions; allow the daytime recording of objects in low earth orbit; facilitate imaging in low-visibility environments; monitor space debris and allow the high-speed tracking of objects,” project research lead Associate Professor Greg Cohen said.

The Astrosite research team is based at the University’s International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS).

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