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SmartSat and New Zealand Space Agency Forge Partnership for Space Sector Innovation
Professor Andy Koronios, commenting on the partnership, highlighted the significance of these initiatives. "We're delighted to sign this agreement with the New Zealand Space Agency. This partnership will enable us to join forces and harness our resources and expertise for several important projects," he said.
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SmartSat and New Zealand Space Agency Forge Partnership for Space Sector Innovation
by Simon Mansfield
Adelaide, Australia (SPX) Jan 31, 2024

In a significant development for the Australasian space sector, SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (SmartSat), Australia's leading space research centre, has entered into a formal partnership with the New Zealand Space Agency (NZSA). This collaboration, marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), aims to catalyze the growth of the space industries in both Australia and New Zealand.

The MoU, signed at the NZSA headquarters in Wellington, was formalized by Professor Andy Koronios, SmartSat CRC Chief Executive Officer, and Robyn Henderson, Acting Head of the New Zealand Space Agency. This agreement opens up new avenues for developing capabilities and expertise in the space sector, with a focus on innovation, research and development (R and D), and workforce development.

Central to this agreement is the commitment of up to NZ $6 million from the New Zealand Government's Catalyst Fund. This funding is earmarked to support New Zealand researchers in participating in joint research initiatives across several key areas:

- Earth Observation: This area covers a broad spectrum of research including Natural Capital, Biosecurity, Crop Health, Pasture Condition, Emission Monitoring, South Pacific Synthetic Aperture Radar, and Maritime Domain Awareness. The aim is to utilize space data to enhance decision-making for both land and sea-based environments.

- Space Situational Awareness: This initiative focuses on developing new techniques to better monitor the orbital environment. Innovations such as Satping - determining spacecraft position, velocity, and identification - and advanced ground-sensor data processing for detecting anomalies and maneuvers, are at the forefront of this effort.

- Optical Communications: The partnership also involves joint scientific work on adaptive optics. The goal is to explore coordination of a network of Australasian optical ground stations, a move that will actively support space exploration.

Professor Andy Koronios, commenting on the partnership, highlighted the significance of these initiatives. "We're delighted to sign this agreement with the New Zealand Space Agency. This partnership will enable us to join forces and harness our resources and expertise for several important projects," he said.

Professor Koronios emphasized the critical role of Earth Observation research in understanding environmental challenges that pose significant risks to both countries. He also pointed out the crucial importance of the agriculture sector for Australia and New Zealand, underscoring the need for sustainable practices through pasture mapping, human activity, and emission monitoring.

The Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, also welcomed the MOU signing. He noted, "This agreement reaffirms our strong partnership with New Zealand. Not only do our nations share a unique geographic position, we are also aligned when it comes to using space technology and innovation to improve life here on Earth."

Palermo acknowledged the role of the Australian Space Agency in working with SmartSat CRC and the NZSA to establish this agreement, which builds on Australian Government investments in capabilities such as optical ground stations. He emphasized the global nature of space endeavors and the benefits of sharing knowledge and resources for the betterment of both nations.

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