Landmark Satellite Deal Will Help Tackle Natural Disasters

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionAnimation NovaSAR has the look of a cheese-grater

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionAnimation NovaSAR has the look of a cheese-grater

"The aim is to manage the NovaSAR satellite as a natural extension of the significant role CSIRO already plays in managing a range of National Facilities, on behalf of the Australian community of scientists and for the benefit of the nation", Dr Williams said.

Australia's satellite image capabilities have been given a massive multi-million-dollar boost in a new deal between the CSIRO and United Kingdom company Surrey Satellite Technology.

"We have a computer terminal sitting in Australia and we can basically program the satellite from here through the British operations centre to collect data anywhere we want around the world, with highest priority over our region", he said.

According to Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos, Australia was one of the "largest users" of data gathered in space.

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It enables images to be taken day and night, and through cloud cover, which is especially useful in tropical zones and cloud-affected areas.

The UK Government provided £21 million to assist in the development and launch of NovaSAR-S and will also benefit from access to the SAR data, significantly boosting the UK's sovereign Earth Observation capabilities for applications such as ship detection and identification, oil spill detection, forestry monitoring and disaster monitoring, particularly flood detection and assessment.

"This agreement will allow CSIRO to strengthen Australia's delivery of excellence in science and innovation. It will help CSIRO lead our nation's development in the technical and analytical capability of modelling, monitoring and analysing our natural resource management and approaches to infrastructure".

Meanwhile the CSIRO's Dr Dave Williams said the deal would improve the organization's space capabilities, paving the way for it to contribute to Australia's new space agency.

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"Because we'll be able to direct the satellite's activity, it provides significant opportunities to support a wide range of existing research, further develop Australia's earth observation data analytics expertise, and create new opportunities in the field of remote sensing".

On Monday, the Australian government announced plans to form a new space agency.

In developing the NovaSAR-S technology, Commercial Director of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, Luis Gomes, said the NovaSAR-s system provided revolutionary technology to deliver imagery at any point on the globe.

The national science research organisation has reached an agreement with a UK-based firm to use its NovaSAR satellite to capture images of the earth and sea.

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