Every primary and secondary school student across South Australia will have the chance to name Australia’s first state satellite, which will be sent to low-Earth orbit to collect data to benefit South Australians on Earth.

Students will be invited to put forward name ideas for the locally manufactured satellite that reflect South Australia’s heritage and rich cultural and linguistic diversity, with the winner to be announced at the 12th Australian Space Forum later in the year.

The data collected as part of the SASAT1 Space Services Mission will help every-day South Australians, aid farmers in monitoring water levels so they can more accurately predict future crop yields and support emergency services personnel monitor, manage and even mitigate emergencies like bushfires.

Premier Steven Marshall said the naming competition presents an extraordinary opportunity for the next generation of space leaders to contribute to the milestone South Australian space mission.

“What better way to reflect the future of South Australia in our own space mission than to have a South Australian school student name the satellite itself,” Premier Marshall said.

“The SASAT1 Space Services Mission represents a leap forward in our state’s already thriving space ecosystem and demonstrates my government’s commitment to delivering on progressive, innovative ideas in partnership with South Australian industry.

“There is a universe of careers emerging from the space sector, and one of our priorities is developing a targeted space education program aimed at inspiring our young stars; the SASAT1 Space Services Mission is a wonderful example of this in action.

The small satellite will be designed, built and tested in South Australia by local company Inovor Technologies while Adelaide company Myriota will provide Internet of Things (IoT) services for the mission, collecting the data and returning it to Earth. The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) will lead the mission as well as application prototyping.

The satellite will be launched from South Australia in 2022, spending three years in low Earth orbit.

SmartSat CRC Chief Executive Professor Andy Koronios said the SASAT1 mission was an opportunity to inspire young South Australians about future opportunities in space and demonstrate its impact on everyday life.

“We hope this competition will spark the imagination of young people around our state, not only to submit a name for the satellite, but also to picture themselves pursuing a career in the space industry right here in South Australia.

“The SASAT1 Space Services Mission will contribute to the lives of every-day South Australians, by providing sensor and earth observation data for more accurate water monitoring and better prediction of crop yields, for example” Prof Koronios said.

Minister for Education, John Gardner said the competition is a fantastic opportunity for South Australian students to participate in a landmark moment in this state’s expanding space industry.

“The education system is geared up to support students to pursue careers in this important sector and I am sure this exciting opportunity will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to aim for the stars.”

Information packs for the naming competition including educational resources will be supplied to every South Australian school early in term 2 of 2021. More information is available at saspacemission.com.au