About us

The science of space relates to the properties, dynamics, and evolution of the solar system and humanity’s place therein, from the Sun to Earth’s ozone layer and then to the local interstellar medium.

In contrast, Australian astronomy currently focuses on ground-based studies of objects outside our solar system, while agriculture and the geosciences address the uses, characteristics, and environments of the solid Earth, oceans, hydrological systems, and atmosphere.

SpaceNet is a network that:

  • directly addresses vital national issues involving Earth observations from space (EOS)
  • enables the University to take a prominent and sustainable national position in space research
  • provides a strong foundation to develop into a future Australia Space Research Network, multiple ARC and University centres that engage strongly with government, industry and other universities worldwide on research and commercial services related to space

Why are we doing this?

DIISR’s 2011 Strategic Roadmap proposes development of a broad enabling capability (like eResearch, Biological Collections, Fabrication etc.) in Space Science. This will fill a strategic gap in Australia’s national research infrastructure between targeted capability areas like Terrestrial Systems, Solid Earth, Astronomy etc.

Space involves multiple independent dynamical systems and so has strong links to areas like atmospheric, complex system, Earth system, and environmental science.

Australia’s 2013 space policy focuses on Earth observations from space (EOS), positioning, timing, navigation (PNT; e.g., GPS), communication services provided by satellites. These plus (geo)spatial information systems provide many of the basic tools that underlie modern agriculture, climate and environmental stewardship, financial systems, mineral and other natural resource management and extraction, and natural hazard detection and mitigation .

Such space-sourced data and services are increasingly important to Australia’s defence, economy, environmental stewardship, governance, security, and society. Imagine, for instance, modern Australia without EOS and GPS for global weather prediction, disaster / environmental /harvest / security monitoring, precision agriculture, and mineral exploration.

Why now?

Australia’s first satellite utilisation policy was released in April 2013 and focuses strongly on EOS, PNT, and related space systems & services. A time window exists to establish national leadership in the space science and EOS applications domain and set a path towards a national space research & applications network, COEs, and CRCs.

We desire an EOS focus and to develop the breadth of SpaceNet across science, engineering, geosciences, sustainability, and agriculture. Measuring Amazon (and global) greenhouse emissions is increasingly important geopolitically and is only done reliably via EOS. Similarly for triple-bottom-line (economic, environmental, societal) analyses of space weather and climate change. SpaceNet will do such analyses with Brazilian & other international partners.

EOS services are absolutely crucial to modern Australia but over 40% of the free EOS data Australia currently relies on will likely be unavailable or costly by 2018.

SpaceNet involves novel EOS-focused instruments, satellites, and UAVs and analyses of EOS data on fundamental and applied research of national significance.