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Thales, the University of Sydney and HEO Robotics launch autonomous Space Object Detection research project

Thales Australia has signed a research agreement in collaboration with the University of Sydney and Australian start-up SME, HEO Robotics, to investigate technologies for autonomous vision-based space object detection and tracking.

The work under this research agreement will focus on the identification of sensor technologies that have the potential to perform well on in-orbit platforms both in support of Space Domain Awareness and closer proximity navigation and inspection requirements, as envisaged for docking and maintenance intervention operations. The new research project involves an initial scoping study phase, which if successful may lead to further developments of capability.

The research project, funded by the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), supports the commitments made by Thales Australia’s Strategic Statement of Intent signed with the Australian Space Agency in December 2019, and is indicative of opportunities for new space projects that will flow from the SmartSat CRC initiative, contributing to the growth of a sovereign Australian space industry.

“Thales Australia has a long and proud history of partnering with Academia and SMEs to develop next-generation sovereign technologies. This research project is no exception, and is another great example of demonstrating how collaboration will help grow sovereign space capability, while providing additional opportunities for SMEs to feed into our global projects.” Michael Clark, Director Technical Strategy, Thales Australia

“This project represents an outstanding opportunity to engage with a global industry leader in the area of satellite systems, while also nurturing our domestic capability in Australia. This project will engage our staff and students in the development of state-of-the-art satellite capabilities. ” Professor Willy Zwaenepoel, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Sydney

“HEO Robotics is an ambitious Australian space startup that is already supplying customers with insights using our HEO Inspect product. We’re pleased to work with the likes of Thales Australia and the University of Sydney to supercharge our development and feed into the global supply chain of leading space companies.” William Crowe, Chief Executive Officer, HEO Robotics

“This project is an excellent collaboration between a large, global organisation with a leading Australian research institution and an Australian start-up. It is a fine example of how the Federal Government funded SmartSat CRC brings together the Australian space sector, and the expertise and knowledge of our universities. This is being recognised internationally and demonstrates future opportunities for Australian companies in the global space ecosystem.” Professor Andy Koronios, Chief Executive Officer, SMARTSAT


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