MSL is active in multiple wide-ranging research areas, from innovative astrophysics instrumentation development to low-latency communications and radiation tolerant electronic design and fabrication.
Advanced Thermal Management
MSL is the most advanced aerospace research centre for satellite thermal management in Australia. MSL is leading research for active thermal control on nanosatellites through miniaturised coolers, deployable radiators, and efficient thermal design. MSL activities are underpinned by extensive knowledge from large and small space missions, and supported by state-of-the-art tools (ESATAN TMS).
MSL has more than 30 years of experience in spacecraft systems, and thermal and mechanical engineering, with over 16 years experience in thermal control system design and manufacture on 15+ ESA missions, including Rosetta, LISA Pathfinder and Solar Orbiter, as well as more than 5 Australian nanosatellites.
Low-power, High-performance Radiation Tolerant Electronics
As nanosatellites emerge as disruptive technologies to compete with larger spacecraft for broader scientific, commercial and defense applications, advanced and dependable on-board data processing becomes critical. On-board electronics also need to withstand the harsh radiation environments experienced during polar orbit crossings and the South Atlantic Anomaly during multi-year missions. MSL’s interdisciplinary team of researchers include experts on radiation resistant integrated circuits (FPGAs and CPUs) and memory, with a track record of contributions and achievements in academia and space industry.
Low-latency Communications and Autonomous Operations
Low-latency high-availability communications between spacecraft and mission control centers enables the design of satellites which can both respond rapidly to commands, as well as react to observations made in orbit. MSL is leading research activities to expand these capabilities, traditionally present only in larger satellites, into the nanosatellite format.
MSL is developing the Mercury subsystem, a low-latency communication solution for nanosatellites to autonomously and optimally connect to multiple existing orbital communication infrastructures, informed by the knowledge of the relative orbital positions to select the best channel for rapid data transmission. Mercury is developed by an interdisciplinary team that includes experts in satellite communications, optimisation, and artificial intelligence.
Infrared Remote Sensing
MSL's research into the miniaturisation of thermal management subsystems and the accompanying radiation-hardened control electronics for infrared focal plane arrays is a key system enabler in the development of a sovereign Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) for Earth observation applications and space-based Space Situational Awareness.
MSL's research into the miniaturisation of thermal management subsystems and the accompanying radiation-hardened control electronics for infrared focal plane arrays is a key system enabler in the development of sovereign Space Based Infrared Observation Systems for astrophysical research.
Infrared light is an ideal probe for both the most distant objects in the Universe, as well as the intergalactic gas of the early Universe, both key open questions of Australia's Astronomy Decadal plan. The expertise and new technologies being developed by MSL will facilitate the development of sovereign orbital astrophysical research facilities.
MSL is always interested in research collaborations focusing on space research. If you are interested in any of the above areas or other research opportunities, please contact us.
MSL is also available to provide consultation and guidance on spacecraft and mission design.