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Antarctic Broadband Satellite Project Team Celebrates Grant
by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (SPX) Mar 16, 2010

File image.

The team behind a project to deliver broadband satellite communications to Antarctica is celebrating after being awarded a $2.11 million grant under Round 1 of the Australian Space Research Program.

The project is being led by Aerospace Research Pty Ltd the research arm of Aerospace Concepts Pty Ltd, an Australian aerospace and systems engineering house with extensive experience in space research and development.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the team to invest in space technology and operations in Australia", said Shaun Wilson, CEO of Aerospace Concepts.

"We're thrilled to be working with our partners from Australia, Canada and USA to provide broadband communications to Antarctica."

The Antarctic Broadband - Definition and Capability Development project which was awarded the grant will begin development of a broadband satellite communications service aimed at meeting the data transfer needs of the entire Antarctic community.

Mr Wilson says traditional space and terrestrial communications services are unable to meet the demand for data from the growing research community in Antarctica.

"Access to geostationary communications satellites is intermittent and low-quality, optic fibre is too expensive and prone to damage with moving ice and snow, and research bases are too remote for terrestrial microwave links - a dedicated satellite solution is the best solution to solve the data transfer bottleneck troubling Antarctic scientists."

Broadband communications satellites are traditionally built with big budgets and big hardware, but the team will be taking advantage of new technology to provide the service using small satellites and at a much lower price smaller budget.

"Typical communications satellites weigh over a tonne and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and launch - we'll be using technology from the University of Toronto and our Australian partners to develop a very capable system on a much smaller scale."

The Australian Space Research Program is a federal government initiative to encourage investment in space research and development by Australian industry and academia.

"Aerospace Concepts is a small company. We usually wouldn't have the resources to take on a project of this magnitude, but this grant will allow us to employ highly-skilled aerospace engineers, invest in emerging technologies and strengthen our relationships with Australian and international aerospace organisations."

The other consortium partners involved in the project are:

+ Australian National University, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Canberra
+ University of Toronto - Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Flight Laboratory
+ EM Solutions Pty Ltd, Brisbane
+ Environmental Systems and Services Pty Ltd, Melbourne
+ The Tauri Group LLC, Washington DC
+ JosephMark Pty Ltd, Brisbane


Related Links
Aerospace Concepts
Beyond the Ice Age

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