Thales Alenia Space and Thales Australia have announced their sponsorship of a new Masters Degree program in satellite systems engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia. The investment reflects Thales’s ongoing commitment to the country, and leverages a decision by the Australian Government to support the project through the Australian Space Research Program.

The two-year Masters program, to be offered at the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research at UNSW, will be optimised for Australia’s strategic and commercial interests, and will deliver a comprehensive understanding of satellite systems and their numerous applications. Working sessions between representatives from Thales Alenia Space and UNSW have already begun in order to formulate the program in greater detail.

Chris Jenkins, Thales Australia’s CEO, stated that the sponsorship added to the momentum of space industry growth in Australia. He said, “It is clear that space-related technologies, especially relating to satellites and their use in communications and earth observation, will become of growing importance to Australia. As a result, the space industry here will continue to grow over the coming years. It is vital to have the right infrastructure in place to support the industry, and programs such as this will ensure we develop the skills necessary to capitalise on future public and private investments in space.

“We have worked very closely with the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research on this project, and the Government is to be congratulated for supporting an industry which will have national significance in the future.

Professor Andrew Dempster, director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research, said the sponsorship would allow the Centre to attract a new class of researchers. He commented, "Previous Australian Space Research Program funding for UNSW has supported the engagement of high school students. This taught degree course allows us to fill the educational gap between those younger school-level enthusiasts and our high-level researchers."