A local ACT start-up company is launching to new heights after earning a position in the CSIRO ON Accelerate program. This follows recognition of its growth potential by the ACT Government through the Canberra Innovation Network when it was awarded an Innovation Connect (ICON) grant earlier in 2019.

Space Services Australia (SSA), the brainchild of UNSW Canberra Space researchers Drs Christopher Capon and Brenton Smith, is working towards keeping space safe through improving the reliability of miniaturised satellites.

“There are more satellites and constellations being launched than there ever has before. The problem is that too many of these systems are experiencing on-orbit system failures and contributing to space debris,” Dr Capon said.

“Our goal at SSA is to help reduce these failure rates, so that we keep space clean and companies can focus were it matters; helping improve peoples lives on the ground.”

When delving further into the issue, SSA noticed that a lot of space missions are working with a limited number of resources and to a fixed deadline. When a project is running behind schedule it is often the testing phase that gets scaled back.

“This is where SSA would come in,” Dr Capon said.

“We are working to streamline testing so that it is about working smarter in the timeframes that are available. The testing we are proposing would work through a combination of integrated system simulations (digital twins) augmented with real hardware data through a flight twin testbench that can stimulate a spacecraft to operate as if it were in space.

“This will enable users to catch faults earlier through frequent and rapid testing cycles. We can then connect with companies and help train and equip them with the tools they need so that they have confidence that their satellites will work on-orbit and, if something does go wrong, they have the best chance of fixing it.”

“We are extremely grateful to receive the ICON grant and to be part of the On Accelerate program. These opportunities will allow us to bring our research to a wider audience and really help cement the ACT as a key hub for the Australian space industry.”

“The amount of activity in space is only going to increase and reliability will be a problem. Through SSA and the support we receive at UNSW Canberra, we are ensuring that work undertaken is ethical and responsible and that space is being kept safe for this generation and the next,” he said.

ON Accelerate is a structured full-time accelerator for research teams to validate and develop high potential innovative new ventures. More information on the program can be found at the OnInnovation website.

UNSW Canberra Space is a world-class team with facilities to enable end-to-end space mission capability, supported by world-class space research and education. From its base at UNSW Canberra, the team play a leading role in shaping and developing the Australian space industry to meet global challenges.

If you are interested in connecting with SSA, please contact Christopher Capon at chris@spaceservicesaustralia.com.