Australian space conference leads discussion on SmallSat tech
New developments in Australian space industry draw fresh attention from global investors
Smart satellites have become the focus of the Australian space industry as revivified interest in the Internet of Things, enhanced Earth observation, future defence development and streamlined communication drive new investment from the Australian government.
The SmartSat CRC (Cooperative Research Centre), which is funded by the national government, was a major component of “Space Week” in the South Australian capital. The event included the 8th Space Forum and the 19th Australian Space Research Conference.
Panels were held by the Australian Space Agency and the SmartSat CRC during the event. One such panel, held by SmartSat CRC industry director Peter Nikoloff, discussed the opportunities and challenges facing Australia’s space industry.
“The intelligent systems from our perspective aren’t just what’s on a spacecraft, we’re looking at the whole chain that goes from the spacecraft down to the ground stations and the applications of how that information is being presented,” Nikoloff said.
SmartSat CRC was awarded AU$245mn in April through the federal government. This funding contributed to the establishment of its headquarters in Adelaide, intended to connect its 99 industry research partners.
Nikoloff, co-founder of Adelaide-based Nova Systems, said the discussion would highlight the opportunities afforded to the Australian space industry through intelligent technologies and the application of focused research. The panel was intended to identify areas that the Australian space industry can grow into, such as autonomous systems and how participating universities, industries and military organisations can make use of these opportunities.
Data processing became a subject of debate for Nikoloff as the processing of information between Earth and satellites in orbit becomes more relevant. The Radio Frequency Spectrum are a major drain on processing speed, with the majority of this bandwidth having already been purchased by media outlets and businesses.
“We need to look at processing data on board the satellite through the integration of big data and AI systems rather than sending all of the data down and then deciding what’s useful,” he said. “With the announcement of the program with NASA going to the moon, one of the areas of strong interest from the (Australian) space agency is around autonomous/intelligent and off-planet mining and the benefits that technology improvements would have for the Australian mining sector, which is already a world leader in autonomous mining. The SmartSat CRC will be working with the space agency to ensure we maximise Australia’s space research activities across the Australian space sector.”
New companies are being drawn to Australia’s space industry with the announcement of the Australia-UK Space Bridge, meaning that Adelaide will become a natural hub for aerospace innovation. Speaking at one of the forums, Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head of the Australian Space Agency explained that the federal government has intentions to grow the national space economy from $3.9bn to $12bn and add 30,000 jobs in the sector by 2030.
“As the CRC goes forward, one of the things the Agency will do is continually inform the market about the opportunities we’re seeing so we can go forward as an industry together and show the world our best ideas and technologies to grow and transform our space sector here in Australia,” Murfett said.
Seo JungJin: Who is EY’s World Entrepreneur of 2021?
Seo JungJin, founder of biopharma firm Celltrion, which most recently developed an antibody treatment for COVID-19, has been named the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, becoming the first South Korean in the award’s 21-year history.
Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates visionary and innovative leaders from across 60 countries who are transforming the world and fostering growth.
JungJin, who is now honoroary chairman of Celltrion Group, was up against a worthy cast of entrepreneurial competitors, taking the crown from among 45 award winners across 38 countries and territories.
Speaking during the virtual event, JungJin described his own interpretation of entrepreneurship as something that brings together “a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good”.
Why was JungJin crowned King Entrepreneur?
A South Korean native and now 63 years of age, JungJin founded biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion in 2003. In the nearly two decades since its founding, Celltrion has lived up to its goal of advancing health and welfare for all by developing ground-breaking drugs to treat autoimmune disease, various forms of cancer and, most recently, COVID-19.
The company, which JungJin started with just US$45,000 and five of his colleagues, has since growth to more than 2,1000 employees with sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69bn.
According to the panel, JungJin’s story is a shining example of the power of an unstoppable entrepreneur to change the world with the pandel moved by both his incredible story and his purpose-driven leadership, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.
Described by the chair of the EY judging panel Rosaleen Blair as “representing everything an unstoppable should be” from taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin’s story is one of incredible tenacity and perseverance that the judging panel felt most represented the entrepreneurial spirit.
“He’s taken breathtaking risks, both personal and professional, to found Celltrion and grow it into one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. “His passion for creating affordable, life-saving health care and flair for tackling global problems has led to many treatments that have helped millions of people worldwide and was especially evident this past year through the creation of a COVID-19 antibody treatment.”
How did JungJin get there?
JungJin's entrepreneurial journey started at an early age when he worked as a taxi driver to get himself through Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After studying industrial engineering, he rose through the ranks of Daewoo Motor Co. before losing his job amid the carmaker’s financial troubles following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.
Following this, JungJin started collaborating with colleagues to explore business opportunities in different industries, though none delivered lasting success. The turning point came after he attended a talk hosted by renowned scholars, which inspired him to focus on the biopharmaceutical sector.
And so he founded Celltrion with just US$45,000 of his savings. The launch of Remsima, credited with being the world's first antibody biosimilar, quickly moved Celltrion up the ranks of the country's fairly underdeveloped pharmaceutical sector. Celltrion followed this success with the launch of drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that today are being used worldwide.
With ambitions to be the world’s first in different areas, Celltrion has pioneered numerous uncharted areas to great success over the past two decades, most recently responding to the global pandemic by successfully developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19 and working to ensure a timely supply of the safe and effective treatment.
“When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives,” explains JungJin. “The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive.”