The Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars initiative has announced funding to ten recipients who will share in over $40 million to grow our national space industry.
As one of the beneficiaries, QuantX Labs leads a consortium of industry and academic teams in the KAIROS mission. This will see a next-generation optical atomic clock launched into space. The clock, originally demonstrated at the Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing at the University of Adelaide received initial funding through the SmartSat CRC, will now be converted into a space-ready payload, thanks to this additional investment.
This mission serves as a platform for Australia to showcase some of the most advanced quantum technology ever launched into space. This high-performance clock delivers capability that can be utilised for numerous high-value objectives.
Examples include enhanced autonomy and navigation in deep space, or in acting as the beating heart of a future timing network that provides a sovereign GPS navigation and timing solutions for Australia.
QuantX’s Managing Director, Professor Andre Luiten, said “This $3.7M dollar grant will unlock a much larger investment that will soon see globally-leading Australian quantum hardware in space. We believe that this technology will eventually prove to be benefit to all Australians by providing new navigation and timing services from space”.
QuantX’s Space Program Lead, Dr Sebastian Ng, said ”Our technology will deliver next generation timing performance to compete with current atomic clocks on GNSS satellites (such as GPS or Galileo). ”
The launch of QuantX’s precision timing technology is scheduled for late 2025. This milestone will be achieved through extensive testing and a series of preliminary launches, which will validate the robustness of these laser technologies. This approach aims to guarantee their reliability and performance under the demanding conditions of space.
The KAIROS mission aims to position the nation as a global leader in quantum technologies, paving the way for ground-breaking advancements in position, navigation, and timing services.