Bureau of Meteorology CDF Studies

Assessment of Australian industry capability for three space-based meteorological missions being for: i) a lightning detector; ii) a hyperspectral microwave sounder; and iii) synthetic aperture radar. 


The Challenge 

Australia currently relies completely on the goodwill of foreign partners and the World Meteorological Organization’s open data sharing arrangements for 100% of its satellite EO data. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau), for example, relies on foreign EO data for many of its core functions and capabilities, including providing weather prediction and modelling services to the Australian users and Defence, ice sheet monitoring to support scientific missions to Antarctica, as well as search and rescue support within its maritime jurisdiction. In some areas, satellite coverage for data collection is insufficient over its jurisdictions of legally obligated meteorological service provision. To improve on its services, the Bureau is exploring the feasibility of Australian satellite missions for three high-priority space-based sensor systems that would enable improved coverage and data acquisition over Australia and its jurisdictions. Through UNSW Canberra Space, the Bureau undertook Pre-Phase A studies for producing a lightning detector mission, a hyperspectral microwave sounder pathfinder mission and a synthetic aperture (SAR) radar pathfinder mission. UNSW Canberra subcontracted FrontierSI to undertake a workforce capability assessment for each of the three missions.  



The industry capability assessments were conducted with the Bureau, UNSW Canberra as well as scientific and technical experts. The produced assessments incorporate the valuable insight and knowledge of the technical requirements and the capability of the Australian space sector support for each mission. 


The Solution 

FrontierSI undertook desktop reviews, augmented by interviews where appropriate, into the space, ground and user segments of each mission. At the sub-system level, we investigated current technological capabilities in Australia and Australian capabilities in designing and producing the payloads, critical componentry, and overall mission capability. We assessed the feasibility of Australian supply of required products and services, including estimates of delivery timelines and critical components that may need to be sourced from international suppliers. Each mission segment and payload subsystem was provided with an individual assessment of Australian workforce capability to deliver the relevant systems, with an overall assessment for each mission as well. Equivalent international missions were investigated to understand and compare to specifications with the Bureau’s scientific and mission needs.  



The Bureau has numerous services it must provide to Australia and the international community. These pathfinder missions serve as a stepping stone for the Bureau to a fully operational capability in the future, the latter of which would enable the Bureau to provide lifesaving data, track dangerous meteorological events in near real time and provide search and rescue support across Australia’s designated maritime zones. The pursuit of these missions will help with the Bureau’s objective of being able to provide its services more reliably across its designated scope as well as furthering Australia’s sovereign space capabilities. 



To learn more, contact FrontierSI at contact@frontiersi.com.au or connect with Project Manager, Alex Linossier, at alinossier@frontiersi.com.au.