UNSW Canberra and Canberra based SME Clearbox Systems have been successful in securing additional Commonwealth funding to continue their collaborative research program.

The next phase of research will see experts from UNSW Canberra Space work alongside Clearbox Systems to study and identify opportunities for passive radio frequency (RF) signal monitoring to support capabilities in Space Domain Awareness (SDA).

The key activities undertaken will be focused on assembling prototype passive RF sensing hardware from commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components and analysing its performance.

The team will also advise on concepts and techniques for storage of passive RF sensing data in a way that would be compatible with the broad Space Situational Awareness (SSA) community.

UNSW Canberra Space researcher, Associate Professor Andrew Lambert said that it is expected that there will be at least a 20-fold increase in the number of active Low Earth Orbit satellites in the next 5 years, and a similar increase in the total mass in low earth orbit.

“It is wise to develop a variety of capabilities to monitor their health and interaction. We are pleased to continue our collaborations with Defence related industry through the UNSW Defence Research Institute.

“This collaboration furthers progress in a priority area for the Australian space research community. We are glad to be working with Clearbox Systems on this project which is focused on delivering real world solutions by addressing user needs and opportunities,” he said.

Jeremy Hallett, Executive Director of Clearbox Systems, said the company is excited to be working again with UNSW Canberra Space, and sees this project as further establishing Australia, and Canberra, as a world leader in SDA.

“We have numerous programs underway with UNSW Canberra. They are an indispensable academic partner as we drive commercialisation of our Space Domain Awareness technologies,” he said.

The funding was awarded as part of the Innovation Connections grant program. Innovation Connections assists businesses to understand their research needs, connect with the research sector and fund collaborative research projects.

The UNSW Defence Research Institute facilitated the engagement with Clearbox Systems and UNSW Canberra Space. The research institute continues to provide liaison support and advice to Clearbox Systems and UNSW Canberra Space on delivering key research outcomes to support the national interest.

VADM (ret’d) Paul Maddison, Director of the UNSW Defence Research Institute, said this project highlights the role that research plays in developing innovative capabilities for Australian industry and the wider Defence sector.

“Our relationship with Clearbox Systems continues to grow from strength to strength. Supporting UNSW researchers and Australian industry partners in delivering capability to meet global challenges is fundamental to our mission at the Defence Research Institute.” he said.

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

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