University of Western Australia Astrophotonics Group


The University of Western Australia (UWA) Astrophotonics Group is a center focused on designing, building, and testing advanced photonic systems with applications in radio astronomy, optical astronomy, and space science. The group’s core technological capability is the long-distance transfer of stabilized optical-frequency and microwave-frequency signals across optical fiber networks and free-space laser links. [1] UWA and Curtin University are part of an equal joint venture known as the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and funded by the State Government of Western Australia. [2]

The UWA Astrophotonics Group announced they would be in charge of installing an optical communications station capable of receiving high-speed data transmissions from space. This advanced OGS will be able to receive data from spacecraft anywhere between LEO and the surface of the Moon. The station will use make use of a 0.7 meter observatory-grade optical telescope and will be fitted with advanced atmospheric-noise suppression technology developed at UWA. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $535,000, and the station is expected to be operational by the end of 2021.

The 0.7 meter observatory-grade satellite being used in the UWA Astrophotonics Group’s OGS

The OGS will be connected to Goonhilly Earth Station’s supercomputer data center in Cornwall via high-speed fiber. Goonhilly handles data traffic and supports secure communications links for the world’s major satellite operators. The ground station will be part of a larger Australian optical ground station network, a project led by the Australian National University with partners in South Australia, and New Zealand. [3]

Related Links

UWA Article

DE24 News Article