First announced in 2020, the strategic collaboration between NASA and SmartSat CRC will advance satellite-based emergency communications to ensure astronaut safety in the event other services, such as GPS, are not available. 

SmartSat CRC, headquartered in Adelaide, is an Australian Government funded space consortium comprised of universities and research organisations, partnered with industry. It’s intended to build Australian sovereign space capability, through the development of know-how and technologies in advanced telecommunications and IoT connectivity, intelligent satellite systems and Earth observation next generation data services.

The project will combine communications and navigation technology in study of a new search and rescue system for future human exploration on the surface of the moon, called LunSAR.

This system will offer miniature low power radio beacons fitted on space suits and lunar rover vehicles to enable two-way communication and SOS across a network of lunar orbiting satellites. Response teams both on the moon and at the mission control centre on Earth will receive this information quickly and securely and be able to respond immediately.

Experts from NASA’s Search and Rescue Laboratory (SARLab) at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA, will help guide and review the technical direction of the project while industry partner Safety from Space will design the specialised beacon for extraterrestrial environments based on a new waveform. The newly developed technology will be assessed using NASA’s unique and comprehensive test facilities.

Read the full media release here.

Image [L-R]: Dr Carl Seubert, Chief Research Officer, SmartSat CRC; Dr Mark Rice, founder, Safety in Space; Professor Andy Koronios, CEO and Managing Director, SmartSat CRC, Dr Lisa Mazzuca, Mission Manager, NASA Search and Rescue; Cody Kelly, Deputy for National Affairs, NASA Search and Rescue