IR sensing research takes flight in Adelaide

By on 30 August, 2021

Artist’s impression of the Platino-1 satellite. Courtesy SITAEL Australia.

SITAEL Australia has announced a partnership with the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS), for cooperation in research into space-based infrared sensing instruments.

The two entities will work on using multi-aperture infrared sensors with intelligent processing to achieve low-cost, high-resolution thermal imagery.

“We are taking an innovative pathway to the collection of thermal imagery from space, combining the small satellite and infrared instrument knowledge of SITAEL, with the unique expertise and capabilities in sensing from IPAS,” said Executive Director and General Manager of SITAEL Australia, Mark Ramsey.

“IPAS is pleased to partner with SITAEL Australia, with this new research further increasing IPAS’ space domain instrument expertise in Adelaide,” added Associate Professor Martin O’Connor, Defence Technologies Theme Leader at IPAS.

“Furthermore, we are strongly aligned to the commercial outcomes focus of the project, connecting technological development with end-user application.”

The one-and-a-half year project aims to help develop an Australian sovereign space-based infrared imaging capability, with applications across defence and surveillance, water monitoring, fire monitoring and agriculture.

“Innovative space-based thermal imagers will be used for wide-area, bushfire early warning and tracking. Algorithms will interpret data in real time to help immediately pin point fires in areas obscured by smoke,“ said Associate Professor O’Connor.

The technology will have other applications such as checking inland and coastal water quality and monitoring industrial energy use and its effect on climate change.

The aim of the research is to move towards problem-centric operations in the infrared domain, a long-term goal of the SmartSat CRC Earth Observation roadmap.

The project will create new space research positions in Adelaide for both SITAEL and IPAS.

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