2 mins read 05 Jul 2022

CROSS Stellar Navigation Research Receives Funding

A space navigation research project from the University of Sydney has been recently awarded $300,000 in funding.

A team of researchers from the University of Sydney have recently been awarded funding to support their work in space navigation technology. The CROSS (Calculated Reference of Stellar System) project is developing autonomous navigation technology which provides accurate, secure, and sustainable navigation pictures of satellites and their surroundings in LEO, GEO, Lunar, and deep space domains.

The CROSS project, which commenced as a spin-off company (CROSS Space Pty Ltd) from the University of Sydney, is led by Joshua Critchley-Marrows and Julian Guinane. The project’s team consists of space engineers and researchers from a breadth of backgrounds, including position navigation and timing, imaging, and space applications.

The research team has been the recipient of two grant studies from the newly established NSW Space Research Network, totalling \$300,000. This funding will be used by the CROSS team to conduct the first pilot study, which will explore the application of celestial navigation in the lunar environment in a collaboration with the University of New South Wales. The funding will also be utilised in collaboration with Space Machines Company to develop a fast-rate star tracker flight model for attitude determination and rate estimation. Critchley-Marrows commented on the importance of the technology being developed by CROSS.

“CROSS is making way to become the first-ever demonstration of an optical navigation back-up to GNSS/RF (Global Navigation Satellite System/Radio Frequency) in LEO. Given the raised and increasing risks of malicious satellites in orbit, CROSS Optical Navigation is imperative to assure satellites continue to operate in case of a GNSS system outage. It is also the essential ingredient to future GNSS-like systems in LEO, on the Moon and beyond,” he said.

“By utilising star trackers for enhanced space domain awareness, we hope to mitigate the risks posed by increasingly dense levels of space debris to the safe and effective use of our space ecosystem,” added Guinane.

CROSS will be demonstrated on two upcoming missions in 2023, one with the CUAVA-2 demonstrator mission and the other with Space Machines Company.  

Video Credit: CROSS.