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Research Themes

Our research themes include:

Realising Space Sustainability (in-space and from-space)

The research theme of “Space Sustainability” intersects the goal of utilising space applications to support the environmental sustainability of Earth and the Space environment. 

We focus on the uses of space technologies to monitor and facilitate environmental goals. This could include earth observation for monitoring and mitigating climate change, coordinating disaster response, space based solar power and the effect of global events and policy. 

In the context of space, "Space Sustainability" can also refer to mitigating the environmental impact of space debris and space operations more generally. Space debris consists of defunct satellites, spent rocket stages, and other fragments orbiting the Earth. These objects pose a risk to operational satellites and future space missions. Strategies to achieve sustainability in space might include novel solutions to managing space debris, detection, avoidance, removal, re-using or recycling satellites and end-of-life disposal plans, and promoting responsible practices. 

Harnessing Innovation for Space

The "Harnessing Innovations for Space" research theme aims to explore and advance knowledge of how space- related innovation can be adopted. This theme recognizes the importance of harnessing innovative technologies to drive sustainable practices in the space sector. This could include process-based innovations and novel business models, for example, in-orbit servicing and manufacturing, on-orbit refuelling, manufacturing in space, space logistics, circular economy in space, free-space optical communications etc.

The recent rapid developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) present exciting opportunities to harness this powerful tool for space-related applications. For instance, AI-powered image processing techniques can enhance Earth Observation capabilities, enabling more accurate and detailed analysis of satellite imagery. The utilization of AI-driven edge computing techniques can enable efficient data processing on satellites, reducing the need for extensive data transmission back to Earth. The centre's research in this area aims to unlock the full potential of AI technologies for space exploration, paving the way for innovative advancements in the field.

Space for everyone

Equitable access to space, guided by the principles outlined in the Outer Space Treaty, 1966, is fundamental for ensuring fairness, cooperation, and the peaceful exploration of outer space. This theme promotes the shared benefits and responsible use of space resources for all nations. For example, the centre will be promoting affordable and accessible satellite data and technologies, as well as fostering international collaboration. Through this, we can empower countries, particularly those in the developing world, to leverage Earth Observation for sustainable development, disaster management, climate action, and informed decision- making or global satellite communications. These are all crucial for bridging the digital divide and ensuring that all individuals and communities have fair opportunities to access healthcare, education and banking.