Round 1 2022-23 Pilot and Seed Funding Outcomes

The NSW Space Research Network issued a call for Research Pilot Program and Seed Project Program applications on 1 July 2022, with applications closing on 16 September 2022. A total of 23 research pilot and 4 seed proposals were received, with total funds requested at $3,569,333.62 and $312,884, respectively.

Similar to our previous funding round, we continue to be impressed by our strong pool of applicants. After a rigorous and challenging selection process, we are pleased to announce the recipients of our Research Pilot Program and Seed Project Program.

Awarded Research Pilot Projects

4 projects were selected for funding, representing an investment of $595,882 by the NSW State Government to promote collaborative research in NSW in the space sector.

IDProjectInvestigator(s)Lead University Institutional PartnerIndustry PartnerAnnouncedAward
RP220201Satellite Servicing Docking System with Event-based Cameras.

Automated satellite docking is a prerequisite for most future on-orbit servicing missions. Whether it is refuelling, diagnostics, de-orbiting or component replacement, the servicing spacecraft must dock to a client satellite before it can perform its mission. This project will focus on developing a novel guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system for satellite docking in a semi-autonomous mode based on event-based cameras. The proposed system will enable low latency, low power consumption, minimum motion blur, high-dynamic range imaging, and the ability to compensate for unpredictable factors in real-time. This system will become a foundation for future semi-autonomous on-orbit servicing applications.
A/Prof. Teresa Vidal Calleja; Dr. Cedric Le Gentil; Dr. Donald Dansereau; Mikhail AsavkinUniversity of Technology SydneyUniversity of Sydney2/12/2022$149,443
RP220202Passage Prediction for Mega-Constellation Satellites.

The advent of mega-constellation in low Earth orbit, e.g., SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellites, has significantly increased the number of close encounters. It is challenging to predict the location of such a satellite, yet the knowledge is pivotal to understanding mega-constellation behaviour and mitigating broader impact on the space environment. This project aims to develop a new prototype daytime, ground-based satellite tracking sensor together with innovative track detection, identification, and prediction methods for the entire Starlink lifecycle. It will bring significant benefits to Space Traffic Management with a statistically more accurate and reliable solution for satellite passage prediction.
Dr. Yang Yang; Dr. Jose Guivant; Dr. Ahmed Ahmed; Dr. Tayyaba Zafar; Dr. Lee Spitler; A/Prof. Richard McDermidUniversity of New South WalesMacquarie University2/12/2022$146,439
RP220203Advanced High Temperature Composites for Solid Rocket Motors in Space Launch Vehicles.

This project aims to develop new carbon fibre composite manufacturing technology for solid rocket motor (SRM) structures capable of enduring the high combustion temperature and pressure experienced in the launch phase of space vehicles. Key strategies are: 1) Investigate using high temperature phenolic resins for manufacturing composite SRM casing and nozzle using automated filament winding process; 2) Develop modified resin formulation (with fillers) for reducing shrinkage after cure; and 3) Characterize the mechanical and thermomechanical properties of resultant composites at both room and high temperature. The out comes are critical for increasing payload capability and high temperature resistance of composite SRM.
Dr. Jin Zhang; Prof. Chun H. Wang; Dr. Mohammad Saiful Islam; Prof. David OfficerUniversity of New South WalesUniversity of Wollongong2/12/2022$150,000
RP220204Geodesy, Hydroclimate and Space Weather Experiment with Skykraft Satellite Constellation.

This project is the first Australian scientific satellite mission based on a constellation of small spacecraft. We will demonstrate GNSS-based earth observation technology with the Skykraft micro-satellites originally designed for air traffic management. We will process data from 77 GNSS receivers on the first batch of satellites scheduled to launch in November 2022and recover critical earth observation parameters of atmosphere (electron density, temperature, humidity), land and ocean surface conditions. This is the unique opportunity to leverage from Australian commercial satellites and to expand our capability in space borne sensing to produce our own earth observation datasets valuable to the global community.
Prof. Shin-Chan Han; Dr. Mehdi Khaki; A/Prof. In-Young Yeo; Prof. Andrew Dempster; Dr. Eamonn Glennon; Prof. Chris Rizos; Dr. Craig Benson; Dr. Eledar Rubinov; Dr. Claire Fisk; Dr. Jia-Urnn Lee; Stephen Belfer; Dr. Simon McCluskyUniversity of NewcastleUniversity of New South WalesSkykraft; FrontierSI; Seaskip; Geoscience Australia2/12/2022$150,000

Awarded Seed Projects

2 projects were selected for funding, representing an investment of $150,000 by the NSW State Government to promote collaborative research with industry and leveraging over $375,000 of co-investment from partners.

IDProjectInvestigator(s)Lead UniversityInstitutional PartnerIndustry PartnerAnnouncedAward
SP220201Spaceborne bushfire modelling and validation.

Major bushfires have been exacerbated by climate change. Hence, UNSW, UTS, Imperial College London, and Spiral Blue propose to work together to combine bushfire modelling and validation within the challenging satellite environment. UNSW and UTS will focus on the mapping of bushfire for the validation of modelling results. Imperial will contribute with their unique bushfire modelling algorithms. Spiral Blue and UNSW will prototype the bushfire modelling and mapping algorithms into the computing environment on-board the Spiral Blue satellites to demonstrate an impactful application of the concept of space edge computing that is pioneered by Spiral Blue.
Dr. Henry Zhong, Prof. Linlin Ge; A/Prof. Chun Tung Chou; Prof. Alfredo Huete; Dr. Andrea GiustiUniversity of New South WalesUniversity of Technology Sydney; Imperial College LondonSpiral Blue Pty Ltd2/12/2022$75,000
SP220202Domestic and global market segment analysis for new and emerging space photovoltaics.

Given recent surge in space activities with many becoming “commercial”, spacecraft needs to be supported by on-board-power-generation that needs to be accessible and economical. For this purpose, EurokaPower’s new space photovoltaic technology has the low-cost and high-power-to-weight-ratio attributes to compete with the incumbent. However, knowledge on the market segments: their base, characteristics, and capacity are lacking. This project aims to address this gap enabling strategic positioning of technologies that target high value segments. Outcomes will also enable development of business plan and intellectual property portfolio that align well with market needs with unique advantages compared to the incumbent and new start-ups.
Prof. Anita Ho-Baillie; Dr. Jason Held; Prof. David McKenzieUniversity of SydneyEurokaPower Pty Ltd2/12/2022$75,000