Our media centre captures articles about space debris and space environment issues, and the role of SERC in developing solutions. SERC initially aims to produce data to allow spacecraft to navigate around space debris, and in the longer term to develop technology to make cleaning up space a reality.
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2017 Media Releases
Australian Academy of Science – Tackling Space Junk February 2017
Ever since the launch of the world’s first satellite in 1957, Sputnik 1, we’ve been sending stuff into space.
Exactly how many pieces of space junk, also known as orbital debris, are out there is hard to know—but estimates are that it’s in the millions.
And it’s not just astronauts who should be worried. From telecommunications to defence, our modern lives rely for just about everything on the thousands of satellites orbiting Earth. The potential for space junk to collide with and damage satellites makes orbital debris not just an interesting curiosity but an urgent problem in need of solutions.
Read the whole article here.
2016 Media Releases
Media Release 30 May 2016 – SERC Research Colloquium May 2016
Congratulations to the Chair of SERC’s Board of Directors on her January 2016 award
SERC’s International Collaboration Success
An exciting breakthrough in SERC’s research progress. During December 2015 SERC, with two of its research partners, EOS Space Systems Pty Ltd and NICT Japan, along with the Japanese space agency, JAXA, carried out a novel telecommunication experiment.
Background: JAXA has a satellite, Hayabusa 2, on its way to meet up with an asteroid. The satellite will land on the asteroid to collect samples then return to earth. During December the satellite was at just the right orientation for another type of experiment.
Over several days, when many others were out celebrating the festive season, researchers from SERC, EOS, NICT and JAXA worked through the night directing an EOS laser from Mt Stromlo in Canberra to send a beam of light across millions of kilometres to the accelerating Hayabusa 2 satellite. Complex calculations were carried out, in conjunction with atmospheric considerations, to aim the laser to arrive at the correct time, distance and orientation, over and over again, for numerous attempts at communicating with Hayabusa 2.
The first few nights were disappointing, no response from Hayabusa 2 was forthcoming and the satellite was quickly moving beyond reach. Due to its programmed path there would never be another opportunity to carry out this experiment.
There was great satisfaction finally when Hayabusa 2, at 6.7 million kms from earth, sent a signal that photons from EOS’s Mt Stromlo laser had reached Hayabusa 2.
This is an excellent step towards being able to more accurately track and hopefully eventually manoeuvre space debris. We know now that a laser of this capacity has the power and reach required to be useful for our ongoing experiments with space debris in near earth orbit.
Well done to all who worked so well to achieve this, it was truly a great international collaborative effort.
Here is a link to JAXA’s English language press release.
Media Release 16 November 2015 – SERC Research Colloquium
Media Release 5 November 2015 – SERC’s Role in the ACT’s Space Economy
Creating More Jobs in the Knowledge Economy
ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, says his government is seeking to promote the territory as the national hub of Australia’s space economy – creating more jobs in the knowledge economy.
Shooting for the stars
Turnbull government aims to stimulate space industry.
Mount Stromlo Observatory reaches for the stars
SERC is a proud sponsor of this world record attempt, a community event being held at Mt Stromlo in August 2015.
Launch of the CRC for Space Environment Management
The Cooperative Research Centres Association made an announcement following their attendance at the launch.
Charting Space Junk Fragments will Avoid ‘Gravity’-style Satellite Wipeout
Australia is one of the world’s most space-reliant nations, with satellites delivering security and services to a far-flung population. The vital orbital devices are under threat, thanks to an estimated 300,000 space junk fragments that must be tracked – complex work with an epic precedent, according to the CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Space Environment Management, Dr Ben Greene.
“What we’re doing is exactly the equivalent of what the 17th-century navigators were doing when they sailed all around the world and they tried to chart all the reefs and rocks.”
credit: David Wilson | Sydney Morning Herald | 16 August 2014
Found in Space
Only a small proportion of known space debris is currently monitored. The majority of space debris objects range from 10 cm to less than 1 cm in size. They travel at high speeds and a collision can cause substantial damage to spacecraft and satellites.
We depend on satellites to run just about everything in our society, from law enforcement and bushfire management to farming, power stations, mobile phones, computers and ATMs.
credit: Know How Magazine | Refraction Media | Excellence in science content and publishing |
New Australian research centre to remove space junk, save satellites and spacecraft
“The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Space Environment Management, based at Mt Stromlo Observatory near Canberra, will bring together work by researchers and industry groups from Australia and overseas. The centre will develop ways to track and remove more than 300,000 pieces of space debris in orbit.”
credit: Carl Smith and Chris Kimball | News ABC | Updated
Australia Developed a Laser to Destroy Space Junk from Earth
This is not the plot of a science fiction movie. Scientists and Australian entrepreneurs working in the development of a laser capable of moving pieces of space junk from Earth orbit and seeks to destroy long term junk orbiting our planet. The pointer project takes place in Mt Stromlo Observatory, near Canberra, the sleepy capital of Australia. The virtually no light pollution and a mostly excellent weather conditions make Mt Stromlo a privileged site to view the space.
“Extinct satellites orbiting as lost souls. Remaining fuel and shuttles. Scrap all walks of life. Humans have become outer space in a kind of scrap, making the problem of space junk a matter of increasingly obvious global security.”
credit: El Confidencial | EL DIARIO DE LOS LECTORES INFLUYENTES | Explore El Confidencial
CRC Funding Announcement – 7 March 2014
Australia has moved to confront the threat of space debris colliding with satellites in earth orbit by establishing a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Space Environment Management based at Mt Stromlo in the Australian Capital Territory. The CRC, enabled by a $20 million grant from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, creates a high-technology consortium of aerospace industry companies and includes universities and some of the world’s leading space agencies.