July 26, 2023
HEO Robotics has signed an agreement with University of Sydney and Thales Australia to conduct research into developing technologies for autonomous vision-based space object detection and tracking. The project will investigate how sensors developed for Earth-based applications can be repurposed to support space domain awareness (SDA) activities.
Dr. Xiaofeng Wu from the school of aerospace, mechanical and mechatronics engineering, University of Sydney will act as the chief investigator for the project. Industry and domain expertise for the project will be provided by the two industry partners, HEO Robotics and Thales Australia. HEO Robotics, based in Sydney, Australia, is an innovative player in the on-orbit inspection domain, and already employs a network of space-based sensors to provide high-quality SDA data to both defence and commercial customers. Thales Group is a global leader in defence and space business where Thales Australia acts as a major supplier to Australia’s Defence Force.
The university lead project is funded by SmartSat CRC. The SmartSat cooperative research centre intends to fund multiple similar projects over the next 6 years with the aim of facilitating world-class research initiatives which can support the fast-growing Australian space industry sector.
“Signing this agreement fits with HEO Robotics’ leadership in space domain awareness from satellites and other space-based platforms. HEO Robotics is an ambitious Australian space startup that is already supplying customers with insights using our HEO Inspect product. We’re pleased to work with the likes of Thales Australia and the University of Sydney to supercharge our development and feed into the global supply chain of leading space companies.” - Dr. William Crowe, CEO of HEO Robotics.
“Thales Australia is a local business with a global reach and significant credentials in the space sector. This project is a great example of how large organisations like Thales can work in partnership with SMEs and Academia to develop sovereign space capability, while providing additional opportunities for SMEs to feed into our global projects.” - Michael Clark, Director Technical Strategy, Thales.
“This project represents an outstanding opportunity to engage with a global industry leader in the area of satellite systems while also nurturing our domestic capability here in Australia. This project will engage our staff and students in the development of state-of-the-art satellite capabilities. Having recently been designated as the Academic Institution of the Year at the Australian Space Awards, the University of Sydney is in a unique position to deliver on the proposed project outcomes ,” - Prof. Willy Zwaenepoel, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Sydney.