La Trobe University’s advanced high-resolution camera launched into space

According to the announcement made by the Victoria Government, La Trobe University has helped cement Victoria as a leader in space technology with an advanced high-resolution camera that was developed and constructed in partnership with the German Aerospace Centre.

An advanced high-resolution camera is set to cement Victoria further as a leader in space technology. This camera is designed to be launched into space in order to more accurately monitor the Earth’s ecosystem.

La Trobe University, in collaboration with German Aerospace Centre, developed and constructed the camera, which was launched at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. It was on-board Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon rocket overnight.

It will take the camera three days before reaching the International Space Station where it will be integrated onto the station’s imaging platform. While there, it will monitor bushfires, floods, ash clouds, storms, rainfall, and drought across the world.

The camera will be transmitting data to the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at La Trobe and to the ESS Weathertech, which have established a ground station to receive imagery, once it is installed.

ESS Weathertech, a Melbourne-based company, is an advanced technology company specialising in solutions in environmental and allied fields such as meteorology, hydrology, oceanography, atmospheric, fire weather and other specialised engineering fields, supplying to government, defence, research, institutional, aviation industries and the private sector. 

The partnership between La Trobe and the German Aerospace Centre is notable for an Australian university and demonstrates Victoria’s capabilities in developing and manufacturing space technology.

The campaign for Victoria to play a key role in the new Australian Space Agency was stepped up by the Andrews Labor Government. This is being done by the Victoria Government to grow the state’s already thriving space industry, creating more jobs for the people as well as boosting the economy.

Victoria has the experience and knowledge to make sure the new agency thrives. With one in five Australian space-related science and technology companies based in the state, Victoria is well positioned to coordinate national and international collaboration on space and attract global investment.

Aerospace research, development and manufacturing are being carried out in Victoria by some of the world’s biggest names in aerospace such as Lockheed Martin, Thales, Boeing, and BAE Systems.

It is being forecasted that the global space industry will be worth more than A$1 trillion by 2040. Victoria can help boost Australia’s share of this market to tens of billions of dollars, potentially creating 20,000 jobs across the country.

Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll said, “We know that Victoria is a world-leader in space technology and the German Aerospace Centre’s partnership with La Trobe University cements that position.”

He added, “This high-resolution camera is a real game-changer.  It’ll help monitor natural disasters and environmental changes across the globe, some 400 kilometres in outer space.”

La Trobe Engineering Senior Lecturer and Entrepreneur in Residence Dr Peter Moar said, “La Trobe University is very much at the forefront of space technology. This project cements Victoria’s position as world-leader for space research and engineering.”

He added, “This is a ground-breaking achievement for engineering in Australia and will help governments and emergency services world-wide.”

A recent announcement highlighted how Australia has earmarked A$41 million for the country to establish its first national space agency over the next 4 years.

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