The Australian Space Agency has awarded a University of Western Australia laser communications team a $4.4 million grant to build a sovereign communications network that can send high-speed data to and from satellites in space.
The $6.5 million project–called TeraNet—also received $500,000 each from Western Australia’s department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation and the University of Western Australia. It will employ a new technology that uses super-fast lasers to talk to satellites and spacecraft.
Project leader Associate Professor Sascha Schediwy, from The University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), is a world expert in optical communications.
He said the network will be capable of providing day-to-day support to missions in space.
Schediwy said the network’s main commercial application will be transferring data to and from satellites orbiting the planet.
But the team also plans to explore high-speed communications in deep space, including to the Moon.
“It’s about supporting all these different customers and space missions in low Earth orbit,” Schediwy said.
“And then also being capable of advanced communications for things like NASA’s Artemis missions to the Moon.”
AARNet is supporting the UWA TeraNet project by providing the team with technical expertise in networking services and research data movement.
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