The Binar Space Program is offering a number of paid summer research internships for the 2023/24 summer.
This program offers current undergraduate students an opportunity to immerse themselves in a research team conducting high quality space science and aerospace technology research.
The internships are open to current undergraduate students with at least one semester remaining of their degree and run in-person at Curtin University’s Perth campus over 12 weeks (10 weeks of work plus a 2-week break) between November 2023 and February 2024. The program is a summer research internship not employment. The award to successful applicants is $6000 and there are around three places available for the 2023/24 summer. Applicants must not have held a paid Binar Space Program summer internship previously.
As a part of the program interns are expected to:
- meet regularly with the project supervisors,
- apply themselves to the project full-time for 10 weeks, and
- deliver an end of project presentation and report in addition to the project outputs listed below.
Applications will be assessed on merit. This assessment will be based on:
- Applicant past performance and experience,
- Applicant motivation,
- Benefit to the applicant or program, and
- Applicant suitability for the projects available.
- Interns are required to comply with the terms and conditions of the award.
- Payments are contingent on satisfactory progress.
- Interns may be required to sign a project participation agreement which may include provisions regarding confidential information and intellectual property.
- Interns are required to submit a copy of all project materials and work at the conclusion of the internship.
1. Commodity Sub-GHz IF Based Microwave Transceiver
Description: The aim of this project is to attempt use the output from a commodity Sub-GHz RF transceiver such as the TI CC1110 used by the OpenLST (https://github.com/OpenLST/openlst) or the Silicon Labs EFR32 Wireless Gecko Series as the intermediate frequency (IF) for upconversion to S and X-Band to produce a microwave transceiver. If the viability of this architecture can be proven, it may provide a lower cost and simpler path to radio licensing for Australian CubeSat developers due to the spectrum availability constraints below X Band. This architecture would also enable more capable small (1-3U) CubeSats as less real estate would have to be devoted to communications as smaller antennas could be used. The solution may also prove suitable for use beyond Earth orbit, where higher (S and above) frequencies are usually used.
Outputs: Proof of concept IF transceiver design and lessons learned from implementation
2. Lunar Terrain Simulator for Imager Testing in Game Engine
Description: In this project the intern will develop a simulated lunar topographical environment and satellite imager in a game engine. This model will be used to assess the applicability of different cameras for imaging and machine vision applications. This problem primarily involves programming and 3D modelling.
Outputs: A lunar topographical model in a game engine and a simulated satellite imager
3. Optimising CubeSat Views Of Western Australian Forests
Description: Space based data products provide key information for both the management of, and future mitigation of bushfires. Maximizing both the temporal resolution (image frequency), and spatial resolution (smallest resolvable feature) of these products is critical to enhancing the utility of the information by scientists, government agencies, first responders, and the community at large. You will be tasked with examining feasible orbital parameters for a mission concept of 3 6U CubeSats carrying a 5 band multispectral camera payload, with an aim to optimise the frequency of image capture over particular land use-land cover areas in Western Australia (e.g. bushland), and maximise the spatial resolution. You will also produce a simulated multispectral image from the CubeSat payload at your final optimized orbital parameters.
Outputs: CubeSat orbital parameters and simulated multispectral camera images
4. A CubeSat Mission for Mapping Surface Material Grainsize on Phobos
Description: Mars’ moon Phobos is of great interest for searching for clues on the past water history and habitability of Mars, and also as an ideal stepping stone for crewed exploration of Mars. You will be tasked with designing feasible parameters for a mission concept of 3 9U CubeSats carrying a 5-band multispectral camera payload, aiming to capture sufficient imagery for complete coverage of Phobos. You will investigate a number of scenarios, including Mars orbit, Phobos flyby, etc. If you have additional time, you will you undertake a literature review or laboratory investigation of the capacity of the multispectral camera payload to produce a map of different grainsizes of Phobos surface materials.
Outputs: CubeSat mission parameters and a Phobos mission concept design
5. Hardware Emulation
Description: One of the biggest challenges faced by embedded software engineers is getting access to hardware to run their software on. Multiple tools exist to help with this by emulating hardware, such as Renode and QEMU. This project will explore the feasibility of emulating the flight computer used on Binar CubeSats, and the capability of executing flight software with it.
Output: Hardware emulation of the Binar CubeSat Motherboard.
6. Intra-Satellite Communication Protocol
Description: Having a single point of failure in a space mission can be dangerous. Currently we have one flight computer responsible for communicating with all peripherals. Another common approach is to use multiple smaller computers each responsible for their own peripheral, somehow interconnected. This project will explore the feasibility of decentralised computing onboard a satellite system, and methods of distributing messages around the satellite that can compensate for damaged nodes.
Output: An understanding of networked computing as a fail-safe in a harsh environment
7. Ground Segment Facilities Upgrade and Expansion
Description: This project aims to expand and improve the existing capabilities of the existing Binar Ground Station to include better RF power monitoring, improve existing remote operations capabilities and facilitate some development and prototyping within the space.
Outputs: Improved ground segment facilities (hardware and software)
8. SpaceFade : A Link Budget Verification and Testing Platform
Description: Using a network/USB connected programmable RF Attenuator unit, create a RF Link budget test and verification platform. The applicant will use the Binar Lowspeed Transceiver connected to the RF Attenuator and an SDR to simulate the attenuation of a space-to-ground or ground-to-space link. This equipment will be utilised to verify Link budget simulations for existing and new Binar Space RF equipment.
Outputs: Customizable RF link budget testing platform with hardware and software to run the testing and present results
9. Modular GaN Point of Load Converter for Hardened & Redundant Spacecraft Power
Description: Investigation of Gallium Nitride MOSFET based point of load converters with focus on spacecraft power supply design. Design, assembly and testing of adjustable-output converter for spacecraft power bus. Design should consider a wide range of possible input/output voltages and power requirements for subsystems, with a suitable input/output range identified in initial research. Design should be compact, light and able to be duplicated (cold backup) for redundancy. Characterisation of system including analysis of thermal output, magnetic field generation, step/transient system response, conversion efficiency and power output over varying input/output loads should be performed. Possible extension for radiation dose testing of converter to characterise power output and system response to GCR + SEU + dose over long duration deep space missions.
Outputs: POL module and short report covering module describing system design, operation and characterisation.
Applications have closed and shortlisted applicants have now been contacted via email.
Due to the number of applications, we are unable to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.