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South Australia state satellite makes significant progress

By Zach Thompson
Wed 18 May 2022

South Australia’s first state satellite has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR), moving it closer to providing tangible data solutions.

This marks a significant milestone for Kanyini, the South Australian Space Services Mission satellite.

The project team is also finalising the design of the 6U spacecraft with integrated payloads, and the manufacturing and test phases have begun.

Inovor Technologies is responsible for Kanyini’s design and build, with founder and CEO Dr Matthew Tetlow saying the success of the CDR gave the green light for the project’s next phase.

“The successful CDR, this confidence in the design of the spacecraft, provides a boost as we head towards the next big milestone which is to test and integrate the payloads into the satellite which will provide services to the South Australia government,” Dr Tetlow said.

“The process of building a spacecraft with our project partners is dynamic, the mission has a very complex payload suite which has given our team the chance to be innovative and creative in developing solutions to meet the mission requirements.

“We’ve all risen to the challenge, kudos to everyone involved.”

A research project conducted through the SmartSat CRC has already shown reliable, cost-effective monitoring of the Department of Environment’s network of groundwater bores through Internet of Things and nano-satellite telecommunications.

The research project, conducted by FrontierSI, Myriota, Uni SA, NGIS Australia and Department for Environment and Water, has developed an end-to-end solution for sending out and grouping automatically-collected information from bores across rural and regional South Australia, with a focus on environmental water monitoring.

This technology will be used onboard Kanyini.

FrontierSI deputy CEO Phillip Delaney reinforces the project’s success, praising the collaboration between the South Australian Government and SmartSat CRC.

“We have been working closely with Myriota, UniSA, NGIS Australia, and the Department for Environment and Water over the past two years to demonstrate the transformative use of Internet of Things and nano-satellite communications to improve groundwater bore monitoring and management in the harsh environment of remote Australia,” Delaney says.

“This project has created a wealth of information on groundwater, transforming once per year updates on groundwater into data points multiple times per day.

“This will be critical to underpinning decision making, reactive to events, and understanding the impacts of developments on the whole groundwater network.”

“Importantly, as many of these sites are in hard, remote environments, there are substantial safely benefits gained by reducing the number of times these sites need to be visited.”

“All of these benefits would not be possible without this transformation space enabled communications technology.

“Congratulations to the South Australian government, the SIGWater project team, and SmartSat CRC for their collaboration and belief in this innovative body of work.”

Most of Australia’s groundwater is a primary source of drinking water for many regional townships and is used heavily across the agriculture, mining and energy sectors.

This means the project could drastically optimise groundwater, reduce staff field time and increase the availability of groundwater information.

SmartSat CRC CEO Andy Koronios said the state’s investment in Kanyini provides researchers with a vehicle to develop real-world technology based on their research, which is also of benefit to a variety of stakeholders.

“We are dedicated to developing satellite IoT connectivity technologies that help solve some of the biggest challenges facing Australian industries, and that includes water security for our environment, community and the economy,” Koronios says.

“With over a third of the world’s biggest groundwater systems already in distress, this project will put Australia in pole position to be a global leader in groundwater management and apply the solution locally and abroad. It is fantastic to know that we can deliver this technology to space aboard a sovereign satellite such as Kanyini.”

“The data captured by this satellite will help progress valuable research into satellite technology. We are continuing to look at new projects that will provide services for the South Australian Government.”

As IoT lead for the mission, Myriota co-founder and chief technology officer Dr David Haley added that the data collected would have significant benefits for users here on Earth.

“The success of the Kanyini Critical Design Review marks the beginning of a new phase of the program where the Myriota and Inovor teams will proceed with assembly, integration and testing of the spacecraft and its two payloads,” Dr Haley says.

“The Internet of Things payload will add to the Myriota Network, collecting data from devices and sensors on the Earth’s surface, working together with hyperspectral imaging collected from the earth observation payload to support a wide array of applications including aiding farmers in monitoring water levels so they can more accurately predict future crop yields and supporting emergency services personnel to monitor, manage and mitigate emergencies like bushfires.”

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