Australian Astronomical Optics enters the space race with new project


Artist’s impression of Gilmour Space’s Eris rocket. Credit: Gilmour Space.

Macquarie University’s Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) has signed an agreement with pioneering manufacturer Gilmour Space to produce a new piece of space technology, set to launch in 2023.

Gilmour Space is one of Australia’s pioneer NewSpace companies and the leading venture-backed manufacturer of launch vehicles and satellite platforms.

AAO Macquarie is world renowned for its ground-based precision instrumentation for telescopes and is now branching out to non-astronomy applications in space. As part of this new partnership with Gilmour Space, a team of technical specialists from AAO Macquarie will construct and deliver a novel thermal camera payload device.

“The payload will be attached to a satellite which is set to orbit around the Earth in late 2023,” says Dr Lee Spitler from AAO Macquarie. “The data collected from the thermal camera payload will be unique and allow the exploration of a new approach to collecting imaging data.

“The agreement marks an exciting new chapter for AAO Macquarie, as our team of experts can expand their skills and remits to support the growing interest in space exploration.”

This is a unique mission involving only Australian parties and kick-starts Macquarie’s participation in the NewSpace era of agile space technology development.

AAO Macquarie has several other innovative space-related projects currently underway with Australian industry and defence organisations. This includes a partnership with a Sydney-based company to design custom optical components that will land on the moon in 2025.

 Learn more about AAO Macquarie’s work.





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