4 mins read 01 Jul 2021

New Space Industry Hub for RMIT

RMIT University will receive $1 million from the Victorian Government, with another million in funding provided by SmartSat CRC, to develop a Space Industry Hub focusing on developing new opportunities using space data.

AWS Ground Stations will allow Space Industry Hub partners to easily access the satellite data they need. Credit: AWS.

As the financial year draws to a close, the investment in the space industry in the form of grants and industry support continues to be announced. This time the winner is the burgeoning space industry in Melbourne with RMIT University establishing a new Space Industry Hub at RMIT to connect local business and research, to new opportunities in space technology, specifically using satellite data.  

Victorian Government is inserting \$1 million into a new Space Industry Hub to be located at RMIT University, Melbourne.  The funding is part of the \$350 million Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund developed in response to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on Victorian universities.  SmartSat CRC will match the investment with another \$1 million towards the hub whilst Amazon Web Services (AWS) will provide significant technical and training support, and FrontierSI will provide industry engagement backing. 

RMIT Deputy Vice-Chancellor for STEM and Vice President Digital Innovation, Professor Aleksandar Subic, said the Hub’s primary focus was to help local companies – from agriculture and transport to logistics and manufacturing – develop new technologies, skills and capabilities using satellite data. 

“The RMIT Space Industry Hub will be a launchpad and an industrial solutions incubator to support collaboration and innovation for Victoria’s space industry growth,” Subic said. 

“At the core of this growth are digital technologies and leveraging the state’s strong capabilities in advanced manufacturing.” 

RMIT's Professor Aleksander Subic says the Space Industry Hub will help develop new technologies, skills and capabilities using satellite data. Credit: RMIT.

AWS will be providing affordable access to real-time satellite data through AWS Ground Station, a fully managed ground station infrastructure service.  

AWS Country Director for Public Sector in Australia and New Zealand, Iain Rouse, said this improved access to satellite data would help drive innovation and provide new market opportunities for Australian businesses. 

“When space is made accessible and cost-effective, there is no limit to what can be accomplished. AWS is excited to help the Space Industry Hub accelerate their research, innovation, and capability development in space,” Rouse said.

CEO of SmartSat CRC, Andy Koronios, said this major step for Victoria was part of a national effort to become leaders in the space economy. 

“We are delighted that the Victorian Government has made this investment, which with SmartSat co-investment will help spark innovation and develop technologies to leverage the huge opportunities the space economy offers,” he said. 

“SmartSat CRC nodes around Australia will provide opportunities for joint projects to leverage national and international space collaborative initiatives such as NASA’s Moon to Mars Exploration Program, UK Space Bridge, state government space industry investments and CRC-P grants.”

Who's involved?

RMIT University's Melbourne City Campus where the new Space Industry Hub will be located. Credit: RMIT.

RMIT's Space Industry Hub is receiving \$1m from the Victorian Government. This is part of an overall \$44.6m investment from the Victorian Government’s Higher Education State Investment Fund awarded to RMIT University with the aim of focusing on research projects and capital works all with a community-based renewal focus.  

The Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund is a \$350 million fund established to support universities across Victoria with capital works, applied research and research partnerships focused on boosting Victoria’s productivity and economy. The fund is in response to the significant impact of the Coronavirus on universities, an industry hit hard by the pandemic. 

The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is a consortium of universities and other research organisations, partnered with industry and funded by the Australian Government. The aim is to develop know-how and technologies in advanced telecommunications and IoT connectivity, intelligent satellite systems, and Earth observation next-generation data services.

AWS will provide Ground Station infrastructure and real-time access to space data. They have committed to providing support and training as well as affordable access to their infrastructure. 

FrontierSI is a not-for-profit company, established following 16 years of operations as the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information. They have expertise in spatial mapping, infrastructures, positioning, geodesy, analytics and standards.