Australian Startup Develops Dual-Headed Space Camera

Space & Technology World

Australian Startup Develops Dual-Headed Space Camera

Australian startup Infinity Avionics is currently in the development phase of a cutting-edge dual-headed camera system designed for space-based surveillance. Securing funding totaling approximately 1 million Australian dollars ($660,000) from the Australian research consortium SmartSat CRC, the Australian Capital Territory government, and internal research funding, Infinity Avionics, headquartered in Canberra, has partnered with the University of New South Wales Canberra Space and fellow Australian startup Nominal Systems. The primary goal is to create technology capable of autonomously identifying space objects, particularly those too small for radar detection.

Igor Dimitrijevic, the founder and CEO of Infinity Avionics, explained that the focus is on detecting debris fragments that elude radar detection capabilities. The innovative camera system comprises a wide field of view event sensor designed to respond to changes in light without generating images. According to Dimitrijevic, this sensor boasts a remarkably high dynamic range compared to conventional image sensors, enabling the detection of subtle changes or events.

The system operates on a "Tip and Cue" mechanism: when the event sensor detects changes or movement, it instructs the co-aligned narrow field of view camera to capture imagery. This approach allows for the identification of events or movements that might be overlooked by a standard camera. Additionally, it mitigates the challenge posed by massive data generation, which occurs when using a regular camera that constantly captures frames. With the dual-head camera system, Infinity Avionics can identify and capture events while producing a manageable amount of data for downstream processing and transmission.

Nominal Systems, a technology company based in Canberra, contributes to the project with its digital twinning technology, aiding Infinity Avionics in simulating the concept of operations for the dual-headed camera system and validating requirements.

Damith Abeywardana, founder and managing director of Infinity Avionics, highlighted that their system is an enhanced version designed to automate and introduce intelligence to surveillance cameras, building on the company existing expertise in providing cameras and sensors for similar space-based applications.

Established in 2020 as a spinoff from the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Infinity Avionics not only focuses on the development of optical sensors and computer processors but also offers engineering consulting services directly and through international partnerships. Igor Dimitrijevic, the startup CEO, formerly served as the lead electronics engineer in the university space group.

The dual-headed camera system has garnered attention from potential customers, including the Australian Space Command and various international organizations, indicating its potential impact on advancing space surveillance capabilities.

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