Space systems engineering requires many engineering disciplines to work together. An electrical engineer working on a space project will work alongside mechanical engineers, thermal engineers, aeronautical engineers and systems engineers.

At UNSW Sydney, space systems engineering resides in the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications because many spacecraft design tasks are electrical. Spacecraft require complex control systems to keep them in their prescribed orbit and pointing in the right direction.

  • Communications is not just an important satellite application – it is also essential for controlling the spacecraft and reporting its data
  • Power subsystems and photovoltaics keep the satellites running
  • Robotics allows autonomous manipulations in space
  • Electronics and signal processing are fundamental to many space sensors such as synthetic aperture radar

The Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) was launched here in 2010 to provide national leadership for Australian space engineering research. ACSER's purpose is to develop space capabilities relevant to Australia's needs through research, innovation and education. ACSER offers a wide variety of PhD topics for students looking to do further research in space. It also offers a comprehensive two-year Master program that prepares graduates with industry experience for Australia's developing space industry.

We also offer a globally recognised masters degree in space systems engineering which has been developed in collaboration with the international space industry and leaders in space education. As Australia’s first comprehensive postgraduate program of its type and one of only a handful of similar programs worldwide, this degree is designed to produce industry-ready graduates for the Australian, regional and international satellite and space industries.

Industry links

The space industry in Australia is a rapidly developing area that has received a significant amount of support from the Federal Government through the creation of the Australian Space Research Program. The UNSW postgraduate program has been developed in conjunction with:

  • Thales Alenia Space - France-based multinational
  • Optus - Australia's only satellite owner and operator
  • L’Institut Superieur de l’Aeronautique et de l’Space – international leader in space education

These critical industry relationships ensure our master's degree is informed by and up-to-date with the latest industry developments worldwide.


Employment opportunities with satellite builders, operators and users of satellite data include careers in:

  • Space mission planning and development
  • Satellite design and space component design
  • Satellite operations
  • Space propulsion and launch vehicle design
  • Management and operation of space and supporting infrastructure
  • Space law
  • Design and building of ground-specific components to satellite launch
  • Satellite data analysis: remote sensing, and earth observation
  • Satellite applications such as satellite communications, global navigation systems
  • Space-related postgraduate research