Australia's scientific agency invests in "sophisticated" NovaSAR satellite

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/9/26 17:42:21

Australian scientists will be able to identify natural disasters faster, monitor illegal fisheries more closely, and predict flood patterns with greater ease, after the nation's peak scientific body secured access to one of the world's "most sophisticated" high-performance satellites.

Announced on Tuesday as part of the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) being held in the South Australian city of Adelaide, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) announced its partnership with the NovaSAR satellite.

NovaSAR was developed by British company Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, and will give Australian scientists access to a smorgasbord of data previously unavailable.

The NovaSAR satellite, which uses an "advanced" form of radar technology known as S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar to take high-resolution photos of the Earth's surface, will be used by Australian scientists for multiple purposes.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Australia's Minister for Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinis described the CSIRO's investment as "timely," considering that the Australian government has just announced plans to form its own space agency.

"Australia is one of the largest users of Earth Observation from Space data world-wide, with satellite data underpinning more than 100 state and federal resource mapping and environmental monitoring programs across Australia," Sinodinos said.

"This agreement will allow CSIRO to strengthen Australia's delivery of excellence in science and innovation. It will help CSIRO lead our nation's development in the technical and analytical capability of modelling, monitoring and analyzing our natural resource management and approaches to infrastructure.

"This will also lead to better and more informed support for policy and decision-making and, ultimately, our economic development as a nation."

Meanwhile the CSIRO's Dr Dave Williams said the deal would improve the organization's space capabilities, paving the way for it to contribute to Australia's new space agency.

"The aim is to manage the NovaSAR satellite as a natural extension of the significant role CSIRO already plays in managing a range of national facilities," Williams said.

"Because we'll be able to direct the satellite's activity, it provides significant opportunities to support a wide range of existing research, further develop Australia's earth observation data analytic expertise, and create new opportunities in the field of remote sensing."

On Monday, the Australian government announced plans to form a new space agency.

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