24/7 Space News
Australia's First Lunar Testbed Nearing Completion at QUT
illustration only
Australia's First Lunar Testbed Nearing Completion at QUT
by Simon Mansfield
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Dec 07, 2023

In a significant development for space research in Australia, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is in the final stages of constructing a lunar testbed, set to be the first of its kind in the country. The 19m x 11m lunar testbed, located near the Herston Rd entrance of the QUT Kelvin Grove campus, is expected to be officially inaugurated in early 2024.

This state-of-the-art lunar testbed will serve as a critical resource for simulating planetary environments, supporting research in robotics, sensing, and other space-related technologies.

Associate Professor Thierry Peynot, the leader of the QUT Space Precinct development, explained the testbed's capabilities. "The lunar environment is incredibly challenging, with no atmosphere, fine moondust that sticks to everything, extreme temperature variations, and high levels of radiation. While we cannot replicate all these conditions exactly, the use of fabricated moondust in the facility will provide a realistic surface and terrain for testing rovers and other space technologies."

The lunar testbed will include a gantry crane to simulate the Moon's gravity, which is only 1/6th of Earth's gravity. This feature will allow vehicles to navigate across the testbed while experiencing the reduced gravitational force of the Moon.

Moreover, the facility will provide realistic lighting conditions, including sunlight, and high ceilings for testing drones. This aspect is particularly relevant for simulating the atmosphere of Mars, where drones could play a crucial role in future exploration.

Ali Buchberger, Director of Industry Engagement, emphasized the collaborative nature of the lunar testbed. "Going back to the Moon and on to Mars is a massive team effort. We hope this facility will play a small part in shaping the future of space exploration, fostering innovation between QUT and companies in the space industry."

The lunar testbed's utility extends beyond academic research. It will be used by students from various disciplines, including robotics, mechatronics, electrical engineering, renewable power engineering, and industrial design. Additionally, research groups focusing on astrobiology, planetary surface exploration, and computer-human interactions will benefit from this cutting-edge facility.

Furthermore, the QUT is committed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) outreach, and on special occasions, community visitors will have the opportunity to observe simulations from a public viewing platform.

The Research Engineering Facility (REF) manager, Andy Keir, announced that a dedicated research engineering support team would be relocated from the QUT Da Vinci Precinct at Brisbane Airport to the lunar testbed facility. This team, specializing in drone and aviation enablement, will be closer to its user base and will enhance engagement with other members of the REF team, including the Robotics and Autonomous Systems team.

Keir added, "Through these staff, REF will be able to provide enablement for the activities that will occur at the Space Technology Precinct, including design and manufacturing, systems integration, rapid prototyping, and data analysis."

While the facility's formal name is yet to be announced, construction is progressing as planned and is expected to be completed later this month. The official opening is scheduled for the following year, marking a significant milestone in Australia's space research capabilities.

Related Links
QUT Centre for Robotics
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Firefly Aerospace to develop framework for DARPA's LunA-10 orbital spacecraft hubs
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Dec 06, 2023
Firefly Aerospace, Inc., a key player in space transportation, has announced its selection to develop a framework for integrated on-orbit spacecraft hubs. This initiative supports DARPA's 10-Year Lunar Architecture (LunA-10) capability study. The proposed hubs, leveraging the capabilities of Firefly's Elytra orbital vehicles, aim to provide versatile cislunar services, including refueling, delivery, and transportation. Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace, highlighted the company's commitment to i ... read more

Was going to space a good idea

Lost tomato found aboard International Space Station after eight months

NASA Stennis Achieves Major Milestone for In-Flight Software Mission

Chandrayaan-3 Propulsion Module Successfully Transitions from Lunar to Earth Orbit

Professionals Satellite YPSat Ready for Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing

KAIST Partners with Rocket Lab for NeonSat-1 Launch

Iran hails capsule launch as step towards human spaceflight

NASA identifies probable reason for OSIRIS-REx capsule parachute deployment issue

Mapping Mars: Deep Learning Could Help Identify Jezero Crater Landing Site

How Rocks Say Don't Touch: Sols 4032-4034

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now: Sols 4028-4029

On The Road Again: Sols 4030-4031

CAS Space expands into Guangdong with new rocket engine testing complex

China's Lunar Samples on Display in Macao to Inspire Future Explorers

China Manned Space Agency Delegation Highlights SARs' Role in Space Program

Wenchang Set to Become China's Premier Commercial Space Launch Hub by Next Year

Iridium's New GMDSS Academy to Bolster Safety Training for Maritime Professionals

Embry-Riddle's Innovative Mission Control Lab prepares students for booming space sector

Ovzon and SSC close to sealing satellite communication contract worth $10M

A major boost for space skills and research in North East England

Momentus Partners with CalgaryToSpace for 2025 Satellite Launch

Rogue Space Systems lands inaugural on-orbit service contract

NASA Laser Reflecting Instruments to Help Pinpoint Earth Measurements

Magnetization by laser pulse

Ariel moves from drawing board to construction phase

Digging Deeper to Find Life on Ocean Worlds

Ice's crucial role in planet and comet formation mapped by Webb

Can signs of life be detected from Saturn's frigid moon

Unwrapping Uranus and its icy moon secrets

Juice burns hard towards first-ever Earth-Moon flyby

Fall into an ice giant's atmosphere

Juno finds Jupiter's winds penetrate in cylindrical layers

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.