The Federal Government has announced a $6.1 million program designed to create new engineering education pathways in satellite tracking and movement and accuracy of weather predictions.


Announcing three new projects under Round 4 of the Australian Space Research Program (ASRP), Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said discoveries in space science may help solve some of Australia's and the world's biggest challenges.


"Space science is no longer about a race to the moon. Rather, it has the power and potential to help us address major issues that affect our quality of life like health care, food production and climate change," Senator Carr said.


"Australia's space and engineering research is among the best in the world - Excellence in Research for Australia showed 85 per cent or more of the units assessed in the space sciences and related areas of engineering are world standard or above - and our space-related industries are growing.


Announced in the Round 4 Grants were:

  • University of New South Wales - $675,173. To develop a comprehensive, sustainable tertiary education program in satellite systems engineering comprising a two-year master’s qualification. The project is led by the University of New South Wales in collaboration with a world class consortium which includes Australia’s only satellite owner and operator, Optus, the multi- national Thales Group, and France’s Institut Superieur de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace.
  • Australian National University - $3,117,172 for its Plasma Thruster Project. The Australian Plasma Thruster project will aim to develop a spaceflight ready Australian plasma thruster design based on the helicon double layer technology invented and developed at the Australian National University. If successful it will find a market in satellite propulsion systems, including for station-keeping, end-of-life satellite insertion into graveyard orbit, and ultimately for deep space mission.
  • Vipac Engineers & Scientists - $2.346,928 for its Greenhouse Gas Monitor project. The Greenhouse Gas Monitor project will develop an innovative sensor to measure greenhouse gases nationally and globally. The project will tie the measurements to observations by satellites in order to provide global coverage. Additionally it will develop modelling and analysis tools to interpret the data, thereby advancing scientific understanding of the carbon cycle and providing policy relevant information of sources and sinks of greenhouse gases.