Space and Defence

Our Space and Defence researchers work in close partnership with the Australian defence and space industries to reduce their operational risks and enhance capabilities.

A submarine being worked on in a facility

With the space sector rapidly becoming a national priority, our researchers are helping government bodies, industry and private enterprise take advantage of emerging strategic, scientific and commercial opportunities.

Our new Andy Thomas Centre for Space Resources (ATCSR) brings together the University of Adelaide’s collective research strengths to become an international hub of space-related resource exploration, extraction, processing and utilisation research. The ATCSR will focus on solving the challenges of making long-term space exploration viable through the utilisation of space resource-related research, education and commercialisation pathways. 

The University of Adelaide is a core partner of SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), and is the home of the SmartSat CRC Professorial Chair of Sentient Spacecraft, held by Professor Tat-Jun Chin. Our research contributes to the three research programs of the Centre (advanced communications, on board intelligence, earth observation), which has applications in agriculture, environmental monitoring, resources and defence.

Our Space and Defence research activities form a significant part of the University’s overall Defence and Security research portfolio, and reflect our full range of specialist physical, technological and computational capability.

Areas of particular focus include:

  • 3D modelling and augmented reality, tracking and surveillance, and parameter estimation
  • developing imaging, detection and monitoring technologies with applications to space situation self-awareness
  • trusted autonomous systems, advanced signal processing, radar systems and antenna design
  • system execution modelling to optimise performance in size-, weight- and power-constrained software systems, such as for combat management and drones
  • software security, provable network security, cybercrime and digital forensics
  • developing technologies in the marine environment to reduce platforms’ acoustic signatures
  • data science, including statistics, data analytics, optimisation and logistics
  • self-cleaning and antibacterial coatings, specialised nanomaterials, and other functional materials, such as graphene.

Research impact

We aim to solve challenges across the Space and Defence sector and our research has led to the development of:

  • cutting-edge deep-learning methods, now being applied in autonomous systems and electronic sensing
  • defence communication system modelling and analysis technology, applied across air, land and sea
  • ultra-high-performance, blast-resistant concrete 
  • the data-collecting Innovor CubeSat nanosatellite, currently contributing to an international survey of the thermosphere
  • the University’s Trusted Autonomous Systems Multi-Agent Control Laboratory, developing new approaches to effective communication between multiple autonomous systems, and coordinating their actions.

We have a long history of undertaking collaborative, strategically-aligned research with the defence sector, and maintain strong relationships with the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) and Australian Defence Force (ADF). Our Defence research directly benefits all ADF branches, and also holds significant potential for civilian, industrial and commercial applications. Likewise, our Space-related research contributes to many other important sectors’ development. Among them: 

  • agriculture
  • mining
  • tourism
  • health
  • education

Contact us

To discuss collaborating with us on a project, please contact:

Dr Hung Nguyen – Theme Leader – Space and Defence

Visit Researcher Profile

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