SeoulSmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), Australia’s largest space research centre, is committing over A$1 million to support the development of new space technology that will be tested in space as payloads on the Waratah Seed WS-1 (Waratah Seed) spacecraft, Australia’s first space qualification-focused ride-share mission, due to take its maiden flight later in 2023.

The SmartSat NSW Node and SmartSat-initiated space start-up hub, the Aurora Space Startups Cluster, are funding projects which combined represent a significant portion of the Waratah Seed mission budget.

Waratah Seed is an Australian-built 6U-sized satellite, partly funded by NSW Government and developed by the ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs, and their Applications (CUAVA), based at the University of Sydney (USYD) with the support of a number of NSW-based partners: Saber Astronautics, Macquarie University, the Delta-V Space Hub, ACSER at University of NSW, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and USYD. It is an historic project to help establish foundational capabilities in the NSW space sector and the Australian space industry as a whole. Its mission is to deliver spaceflight opportunities in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for novel commercial and R&D payloads (scientific or technical instruments carried on board a satellite) to test and prove their function and capability in space.

One of two SmartSat NSW Node funded projects is a heat management solution for onboard ‘space edge’ computer chips. As heat management is a significant challenge for LEO satellites, this technology is attracting strong investor and commercial interest worldwide. Developed by an industry-research consortium formed by space startup companies Mawson Rovers Pty Ltd and Spiral Blue Pty Ltd with SmartSat CRC research partner the UTS, the technology will demonstrate a novel heat management solution as a vital enabler of space edge computing systems for the current and next generation of Australian and internationally manufactured payloads and satellites.

The second supported payload is an on-orbit demonstration of the capabilities of AICRAFT’s space edge computing module, Pulsar-2, which was selected for sponsorship by the Aurora Space Startups Cluster, another SmartSat CRC initiative. The locally-developed Pulsar-2 space edge computer module claims superior power efficiency compared to existing competing models, allowing an in-space edge application to run continuously for a complete orbital path (approx. 90 minutes) instead of the more typical 10 minutes. This project represents a significant space manufacturing opportunity for both NSW and South Australia (SA), with the SA-designed Pulsar-2 module currently being assembled and tested at GPC Electronics’ NSW-based advanced manufacturing facilities in Western Sydney.

Andy Koronios, CEO of SmartSat CRC, said Waratah Seed is an historic step for NSW’s space industry. “SmartSat welcomes NSW’s commitment to Waratah Seed, and we are excited to be a part of such a momentous project. We enjoy a strong relationship with Investment NSW and support the growth of the NSW space ecosystem to deliver cutting-edge projects critical to the nation’s space priorities. These two projects are extremely significant for furthering space technology and developing the space sector in NSW and Australia.”

Professor Iver Cairns, Director of Waratah Seed project and CUAVA, said the support Waratah Seed is receiving from SmartSat CRC is critical to mission success. “I’m delighted to be partnering with SmartSat CRC to bring our vision of Space Flight Qualification for novel Australian space technology to life. The payload teams that SmartSat has selected are creating exciting solutions for difficult problems in space edge computing and satellite resilience. We’re looking forwards to launching and operating them in space together before the end of the year.”


For Editorial Inquiries Contact:
Editor Kym Bergmann at

For Advertising Inquiries Contact:
Director of Sales Graham Joss at

Previous articleDefence releases new edition of sales catalogue
Next articleWorld Fuel Services wins ADF bulk fuel distribution deal


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here