4 mins read 24 Jan 2022

Indigenous designs to represent Gilmour and Griffith Uni’s Joey missions

Two young Indigenous women from opposite ends of Australia have won the mission patch design competition for ‘Joey’, the small satellite bus demonstrator missions to be launched by Gilmour Space Technologies and Griffith Uni from Australia in 2022/2023.

Winning designs: (L)Designed by Wypaan Ambrum, a Kuku Djungan woman from Trinity Bay State High School, North Queensland. (R) Designed by Kate Deane, a Trawlwoolway woman from Marist Regional College in Lutruwita (Tasmania). Credit: Gilmour Space Technologies (supplied).

When Gilmour Space Technologies and Griffith University send Joey, the first of their small Australian-made satellites into space later this year, Indigenous Australia will be proudly represented. 

Last week Gilmour and Griffith University announced the two winners of the mission patch design competition for ‘Joey’, a design for each iteration of the small satellite bus demonstrator that the two organisations jointly developed.  

The winners are Wypaan Ambrum, 16, a Kuku Djungan woman from Trinity Bay State High School, Far North Queensland, and Kate Deane, 17, a Trawlwoolway woman from Marist Regional College in Lutruwita (Tasmania).  Both students are members of CSIRO’s Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy which runs Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) programs for First Nations female students across Australia.

“We received some fantastic design submissions to represent the launch of our first 100-kilogram Australian-made G-class satellites to space,” said Shaun Kenyon, Program Manager for Satellites at Gilmour Space. 

“Australia’s First Nations people have long been described as the world’s first astronomers, and it is only fitting that these designs by First Nations young women Wypaan and Kate will represent the two iterations of Joey that will be launched from Australia,” he said.

Wypaan Ambrum’s design:  

“I wanted Indigenous art to be the focus in my patch design so non-Indigenous people can see we are still here. We are the longest living continuous culture in the world. I am a part of the Kuku Djungan tribe, and a part of the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy.  

“The figure at the top of the triangle is an Aboriginal symbol to represent a star. On the base of the triangle, you can see multiple circles representing different landforms which the satellite will monitor."

Wypaan Ambrum’s winning design. Credit: Gilmour Space Technology (supplied)

Kate Deane’s design: 

“I love science, mainly biology and chemistry, and I also love art. I am gradually incorporating my Indigenous identity into these endeavours. My design depicts a hexagonal patch, in the shape of the spacecraft.

“It features the spacecraft travelling through the night sky, and land and waterways below. I wanted to incorporate the richness of Country, with bold earthy red hues of ochre deposits and strong blue water, sustaining life. I incorporated styles and patterns similar to those found in petroglyphs throughout Tasmania." 

Kate Deane's winning design. Credit: Gilmour Space Technology (supplied).

The winners will have the opportunity to join a new Griffith University STEM program related to Space in 2022. 

“Griffith University is pleased to offer this exciting experience to such talented and passionate students,” said Professor Paulo de Souza, head of Griffith University’s School of Information and Communication Technology. 

“Our partnership with Gilmour Space Technologies is the first of its kind in Australia.  

“These students will come on board as part of our satellite development team, where, jointly with Gilmour, we will develop the largest satellite ever built in Australia. We look forward to sharing more news about this terrific initiative in 2022.” 

Susan Burchill, CSIRO’s Director of Education and Outreach said, “This has been an amazing experience for the members of our Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy, exemplifying why CSIRO runs programs like this. 

“It all started with a virtual STEM experience for our Brisbane West students in September, including a tour of Gilmour Space, which the young women found very inspiring. That led to the mission patch competition, and the opportunity for the winners now to learn more about space technology from Griffith Uni and to visit Gilmour Space in person.”