Southern Hemisphere Space Program to tackle the final frontier

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MORE than 40 rising stars of the global space industry are landing in South Australia next week for a five-week program to help propel their careers.

NASA, Satellites,

It will be the sixth time since 2011 the University of South Australia has hosted the International Space University’s Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program (SH-SSP).

The 43 participants from 12 countries including China, India, Mexico, France, Austria, Oman, Philippines, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Nigeria and Australia will this year focus on the implications of the satellite revolution – for technology, business, industry, law, and for space itself.

NASA Chief Innovation Officer Dr Omar Hatamleh has taken on the role of Space Studies Director on a two-year assignment.

He said the participants in the January 9 – February 10 course were from a variety of space sector backgrounds and would be exposed to a broad range of industry issues during the program from systems engineering to technical aspects, societal impacts, legal implications.

“They’re coming from all over the world and the good thing about this space studies program is what we call the three I’s:international, interdisciplinary and intercultural. So it gives participants an overview about all aspects of space,” Dr Hatamleh said.

This year’s practical project will involve participants building two small cube satellites fitted with cameras, sensors and GPS that they will then launch into the stratosphere.

The two cube sats will communicate with each other, capture infrared images of the earth and collect data such as atmospheric gas levels to be analysed by participants in real-time.

Dr Hatamleh said the course and its sister program, held during the northern hemisphere summer, had proven to be an excellent catalyst for career development.

“Not only for their careers but also some people have decided to begin start-ups after completing the program,” he said.

“Employers see the value but not only from knowledge gained about space, it’s also about the connections and the networks you build with so many people from around the world and that allows for future collaborations.”

International Space University began in 1988 and has its main campus in Strasbourg, France.

The program also includes special events with international astronauts and space research, communications, and policy leaders from around the world.

With more than 3000 satellites operating in Earth’s orbit today and an increasing capacity to build smaller and cheaper satellites to carry sophisticated payloads, one of the great prospects for the space industry globally, is the development of more accessible and affordable satellite-mediated technologies.

SH-SSP Program Co-Director Professor Graziella Caprarelli, pictured below, said the small satellite revolution was allowing more countries, including Australia to gain a foothold in the space industry.

Graziella Caprarelli

“Small satellite technology is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and operational, and what were once seen as merely test projects, can operate as fully functional carriers of complex payloads,” she said.

South Australia’s capital Adelaide will this year also host the 68th International Astronautical Congress, further boosting its emerging space industry credentials.

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