New Zealand is responsible for vast maritime areas that present a enormous economic opportunity, however, controlling our exclusive zone is currently infeasible without a high-level real-time view of on-the-water activity and sea conditions. The required data could be provided by a cluster of satellites, in the CubeSat format.

A current project funded by the National Science Challenge (SfTI) is developing the underlying science and technology needed to provide NZ with an overhead monitoring capability using space-based assets. New technology is being created to develop a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sub-system for measuring surface elevation that is suitable for small/nano-satellite payloads. This will be combined with a lightweight array deployment system and intelligent embedded systems for optimizing the limited available power and transmission bandwidth in a small satellite.

The data we will obtain from our satellite system will help to monitor New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Sea-level data will also inform climate models, which will help understand how the Earth’s changing climate will affect New Zealand’s primary industries and infrastructure in the long term.

Contact Dr John Cater for more information.