A new Masters program in Satellite Systems Engineering is the first of its kind in Australia and will help keep talented students in the country to bolster the space industry.

The new course has received more than $650,000 in support from the Federal Government’s Space Policy Unit through its Australian Space Research Program, and signals a desire to train engineers with the skills necessary to support an emerging Australian space industry.  

“Space systems permeate our lives in so many ways,” says Dr Elias Aboutanios, project leader and senior lecturer in the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications at UNSW.

“Until now, there hasn’t been a dedicated postgraduate program in space systems, such as satellites,” says Aboutanios.

 “One of the main drivers behind the program is giving Australian students and engineers a domestic study option and to stop the brain drain in the sector.”

The program was developed by a consortium comprising UNSW; Optus Pty Ltd - Australia’s only satellite owner and operator; France’s Thales Alenia Space; and the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace.

Many of the programs offered abroad focus on specialised aspects of satellite systems, such as satellite communications, says Aboutanios.

“In the UNSW program, students will learn about all aspects of the system. How to take a mission from idea to implementation, and how to operate the satellite system from the launch phase until its end of life.”

Another unique aspect of the program is a year-long “hands-on” project for students to develop a Cubesat platform. These are micro-satellites that could provide Australia with a niche entry point into the space industry.

“There’s no shortage of interested students and we’re excited that UNSW is filling this gap to help train Australia’s next-generation of space engineers,” says Aboutanios.

The Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research at UNSW, Professor Andrew Dempster, said: “With Australia’s increasing involvement in space engineering, it is essential that we have well trained professionals who are ready to embark on careers both in the space industry and in the research we are doing at the Centre.”

Media contact: Cassie Chorn, UNSW Media Office,  02 9385 8107 

For more information: Dr Elias Aboutanios, School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications.