The University of New South Wales has produced an advanced satellite receiver that accepts GPS and Galileo signals. This locally developed technology could play an important role in Australia’s space future.

  • Backed by funding from the Australian Space Agency’s International Space Investment initiative, the University of New South Wales has developed an advanced GPS receiver which accepts signals from two satellite systems, GPS and Galileo, across multiple frequencies.
  • The project is an evolution of Kea, made in Australia and New Zealand. That receiver was for single-frequency GPS. Kea was one of the first locally-made products of its kind to be proven in flight. Its first mission was the UNSW-ECO cubesat.
  • Professor Andrew Dempster, Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) at the University of New South Wales, led the development of the receiver.
  • ACSER is looking forward to its receiver supporting upcoming satellite missions. The receiver can support these missions by providing precise positioning, timing and velocity information. It enables satellites to produce higher quality images from space with better pointing.

Project Status


Project outcomes and benefits

‘The idea was to take that work (on Kea) and upgrade it for this multi-frequency, multi-system solution,’ said Professor Dempster.

  • The end product is an advanced receiver capable of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) reflectometry.
  • This capability benefits a wide range of industries. Examples include defence, construction, mining, logistics and agriculture. It can also provide mobile navigation services to public users.
  • The product can be further improved to track many aspects of space weather in the Earth’s ionosphere. This affects satellite communications used for defence, remote internet and live television broadcasts.
  • ACSER’s locally-designed receiver will reduce dependencies on imported receivers. This gives Australian customers access to a more affordable product.
  • The receiver has strong export potential. It is compatible with both the US-based Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Galileo equivalent in Europe.

    ‘Dual-frequency GNSS receivers have been around for a long time, but dual-frequency reflectometry instruments have not,’ said Professor Dempster.

    ‘Our receiver has been made much more functional and capable by using the two signals.’

    ‘People aren’t using (reflectometry instruments) too much in space. That’s where we are hoping to do something new and original.’


Connection to the Agency's strategic framework

  • Opening doors internationally
  • Increasing national capability
  • Position, navigation and timing

Key Facts

  • Reflectometry is a remote sensing technique where signals are reflected from the Earth’s surface to study environmental conditions over land and sea, such as floods and storms.
  • Reflectometry is also useful for maritime planning. It can provide information about wave heights, and shows the direction and speed of wind over the ocean.
A protoytpe of the GNSS

Modular prototype dual-frequency, dual-system GNSS receiver.

The ACSER Team of three standing in front of a computer and various signs. The middle person is holding the GNSS prototype

Pictured (left to right): Andrew Dempster, Eamonn Glennon and Michael Rohrbach from ACSER. Photo credit: Cheryl Brown.

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