How can an existing or emerging space technology be used in a novel way to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change? 

Participants will be exploring this question in this year’s SpaceHack, presented by UNSW Canberra and the Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN). 

With $10,000 up for grabs for the winning team, SpaceHack shines a light on the many fields in which space technology plays a role.  

The event, which takes place from 16-17 June, is open to students and innovators excited by space, space technologies and entrepreneurship.  

Working in small teams, they will have 30 hours to develop an innovative idea, and access to mentors across industry and academia that will help them generate, evolve and pitch ideas to win the vote of the judges. 

A group sits at a table with a laptop working on their SpaceHack project
SpaceHack 2021

The expertise of the mentors demonstrates the far-reaching role space plays in our society.  

UNSW Canberra mentors will bring expertise from the humanities, public policy, engineering, Earth science and environmental social science.  

For oceanography and atmospheric science researcher Dr Clair Stark, the role of Earth data taken from space is essential for her research.  

“We study how tropical cyclones impact the ocean and how this can affect climate change,” Dr Stark said.  

“Satellite images of clouds and measurements of the ocean surface are used to study cyclones, and satellite data are used to research sea surface temperatures, sea surface heights and ocean currents in the top 30 metres. We can even identify ocean heat in the subsurface using satellites.” 

Other researchers are lending their expertise to this rapidly evolving sector.  

Space law expert Duncan Blake said strategic leaders in the global space industry recognise that space is becoming increasingly congested, competitive and contested.  

“At a global level, humanity risks losing the many great benefits and conveniences derived from space infrastructure if those challenges are not managed in a more comprehensive and robust framework of laws and norms,” Mr Blake said.   

“At a national level, the national governments are responsible to other states for authorising and continually supervising the space activities of all space enterprises, even the non-government enterprises. That requires a detailed national legislative framework for space activities.” 

UNSW Canberra Space spin-off companies, including Skykraft, Infinity Avionics and Nominal Systems, will also lend their expertise to the event.  

The mentors will deliver keynotes speeches, workshops and be on hand to lend their expertise to each of the teams.  

“I am really looking forward to supporting enthusiastic and innovative entrepreneurs who connect their ideas not just with the prosperity of their local community through the jobs they can create, but also connect their ideas with the needs of humanity as a whole, and especially next and future generations,” Mr Blake said.  

Registrations for SpaceHack are now open. Registration is free and will close on 11 June.