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SITAEL AUSTRALIA cooperates with the University of Melbourne and Australian industry partners for new Australian Satellite

June 17th, 2020

SITAEL AUSTRALIA has continued its strong start to the year with the announcement today of the University of Melbourne’s success in being awarded a $3.95 million Australian government grant to build the SpIRIT satellite.

SITAEL AUSTRALIA is pleased to partner with the University of Melbourne, to help deliver systems engineering, integration and test of the SpIRIT satellite, and ensure a successful flight mission with all project partners. “The SpIRIT satellite will deliver international cooperation, help grow Australian industry, and deliver science and industry outcomes” Executive Director and General Manager Mark Ramsey said.

“SpIRIT will be very small – about the size of a shoe box – but powerful. It will carry innovative X-ray sensors, sophisticated on-board computers and radios, and even a miniaturised electric propulsion engine, so we could well say that we will be building a tiny robotic spaceship,” said Associate Professor Michele Trenti, from the School of Physics, the Lead Investigator of the Space Industry Responsive Intelligent Thermal (SpIRIT) satellite.

The grant has been awarded under the Australian Space Agency’s International Space Investment: Expand Capability grant opportunity, and will help grow Australia’s capability in designing, building and operating Small Satellite missions.

The SpIRIT mission will also demonstrate key innovative technological elements in the areas of thermal management, real-time communications and on-board autonomous decision capabilities that University of Melbourne researchers plan to utilise in future space telescope projects for both Earth and astronomical observations.

The SpIRIT project led by the University of Melbourne, involves several key Australian space industry partners, including SITAEL AUSTRALIA, Inovor Technologies, Neumann Space and Nova Systems. “The SpIRIT project team demonstrates the increasing capability and success of the Australian Space industry partners, and we are pleased to be working with such a capable team. Building a local industrial capability in the space domain is critical to deliver against national space priorities, and equally delivers on employment growth in this high technology sector.” Mr. Ramsey said.

The SpIRIT spacecraft will also host an X-ray detector provided by the Italian Space Agency, demonstrating the increasingly strong partnership between the Italian and Australian Space Agencies, following on from their Memorandum of Understanding in 2019, and Statement of Intent earlier this year. “The SpIRIT project will further bring together already close friends in Australia and Italy, and in particular deliver cooperation in the Space domain” Mr. Ramsey said.