Collaborations and projects

The University has strong existing capabilities and ongoing programs relevant to space. These are some of our current projects:


  • i-INSPIRE is the initial Integrated Spectrograph, Imager, and Radiation Explorer. It is a collaborative project between the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, the Faculty of Science, and the AMME-Physics School to design, build, and operate in space Australia’s first sole-university satellite and the world’s first photonics-based spectrograph (Nanospec).
  • An engineering model flew on a balloon to 27 km altitude in November 2012. The flight model is being built now for launch between September 2013 and March 2014, subject to Australian and US licensing. Such instruments could revolutionise EOS, space science, and astronomy by decreasing the sizes of world-class spectrographs to a shoebox instead of 3-meter-sided cubes. Such small satellites have much smaller costs to orbit and longer lifetimes.


INSPIRE-2, the University’s satellite competitively selected for the European Union’s FP7 QB50 project (50 international cubesats), has just undergone its Preliminary Design Review, with launch expected in 2015.

A Physics-DSTO collaboration will carry a novel miniature plasma thruster for satellite manoeuvering, plus an advanced version of Nanospec for EOS.

i-INSPIRE and Related Instrument and Spacecraft Projects 2015 update

According to the recent talk, by A/Prof. Joe Khachan at the ACSER Cubesat Workshop,an integrated instrument package and a cubesat (c-INSPIRE) are the current highest priorities for the i-INSPIRE project team.

The INSPIRE-2 has passed QB50’s Critical Design Review (CDR), with launch expected in 2016.

Geological model construction

A Geosciences – Maths/Stats collaboration to construct geological models, compute associated geomagnetic and gravity fields from global to local scales, compare the results with international spacecraft data, and provide associated information and services to government and industry.

Space weather effects and international trade

CISA and Physics are integrating space weather effects (e.g., destruction of electrical power systems) with a global multi-region international trade model for triple-bottom-line accounting. Initial results show world-wide repercussions to even local impacts because of tight coupling of nations via trade, especially if the USA or China are hit. Earlier US work shows that if the 14-15 May 1921 space weather event occurred today it would severely damage the US power grid for over 5 years and cause USD1 trillion damage (similar to the Iraq war) in just the first year.