New Tassie antenna for space communication

January 31, 2023 7:07 pm in by

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A new $2 million space antenna has been unveiled at the Greenhill Observatory.

The project, developed in a partnership between the University of Tasmania and the Australian Space Agency, will enable two-way communication with spacecraft, as well as the tracking of satellites and debris.

It’s the southernmost antenna of its kind in the world.

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Professor Simon Ellingsen from the UTAS School of Natural Sciences believes the new technology will play an important role.

“For the first time we will be able to develop a fully sovereign bi-static radar capability – a more sensitive and accurate form of locating satellites and space-debris – transmitting from the new antenna and receiving reflected signals at other sites across our array, such as the Mt Pleasant observatory 40 kilometres from Bisdee Tier,” he said.

Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said this new capability further cements the nation’s position as a strong and attractive partner in space, adding, “Australia is deeply experienced in spacecraft tracking and communications, and our geographical advantages provide an added boost to this capability. University of Tasmania’s upgraded facilities will further advance Australia’s expertise in this area and open doors to exciting new research and
commercial partnerships.”

UTAS Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black noting that the University is proud to be partnering with the Australian Space Agency and prestigious space industry partners like SpaceX, Skykraft and Hensoldt to deliver extraordinary new capabilities to the Tasmanian space-related business ecosystem.

He says Tasmania’s future as a “high-tech gateway to space” is bright.

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