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CSIRO announces Earth Observation centre

By on 13 June, 2018

The centre will facilitate Australia’s access to satellite services, including the NovaSAR S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite. Image by Airbus Defence & Space.

Australia’s national science agency has announced a research centre dedicated to analysis and collection of Earth data gathered from space.

The CSIRO Centre for Earth Observation will serve as a locus for Earth observation activities within the organisation, and will act to catalyse engagement Australian businesses, other government agencies and research organisations, according to CSIRO.

The announcement comes following a wave of investment and strengthening institutional support for Australia’s space sector, with the announcement of a national space agency to commence from July, full funding for the Digital Earth Australia earth observation project, and a commitment to enhancing space- and ground-based positioning infrastructure.

Executive Director for CSIRO Digital, National Facilities and Collections Dr Dave Williams said CSIRO was recognised globally as an expert in Earth observation from space, particularly in data modelling, analytics and applications.

“The development of new products and services based on satellite-derived data presents a growth opportunity for Australia’s space sector,” Dr Williams said.

“Our new CSIRO Centre for Earth Observation will be an open door for governments and businesses to access the wealth of CSIRO’s expertise as well as those of our partners.”

Artist’s impression of the NovaSAR S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite. Image by Surrey Satellite Technology.

CSIRO says that the new centre has already signed its first agreements, including one on satellite calibration and validation with CSIRO’s partner, Geoscience Australia, for the Digital Earth Australia program.

The Centre for Earth Observation will represent Australia on bodies such as the international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), carry out research into new satellite and sensor technologies, and manage Australia’s access to satellite facilities such as the S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite NovaSAR, due for launch later this year.

CSIRO has invested $10.45 million in access to 10 percent of NovaSAR’s ‘tasking and acquisition’ time, which will provide access to high resolution, real time imagery that can be accessed day or night and is impervious to cloud cover.

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