4 mins read 23 Sep 2021

Introducing Kanyini - South Australia’s First Satellite

Findon High School in Adelaide has won a competition naming South Australia’s first satellite with their winning entry “Kanyini”.

An artist’s impression of Kanyini orbiting Earth. Credit: SA Space Services Mission.

South Australia’s first satellite will bear the name “Kanyini” when it is launched into low-Earth orbit in 2022 for the SASAT-1 Space Services Mission. Kanyini will be used to monitor water levels for farmers to help determine future crop yields, and support emergency services personnel to monitor and manage large-scale disasters, such as bushfires.  The satellite, to be designed, tested, and built by South Australian company Inovor Technologies, was named through a school-based competition. The results of the competition were announced earlier this month at the 12th Australian Space Forum.

Year 11 students from Findon High School’s Reconciliation Action Plan group submitted the winning entry of “Kanyini” - a Pitjantjatjara word that describes the principle of responsibility and unconditional love for all of creation. The students were inspired by the connection of the concept of kanyini to how the satellite data would be used to tackle real-world problems.

Findon High School Principal Steve Atsalas said the school was thrilled to have their submission chosen for the SASAT1 Space Services Mission. 

“The decision to submit this name was one that included all members of our school community and it is a reflection of our school’s commitment to celebrating First Nations cultures and taking active steps towards reconciliation,” Mr Atsalas said.

“This new SA satellite named Kanyini can be a symbol that acknowledges how vital the principle of Kanyini is for all humans living on Earth to ensure we care for and take responsibility for our natural resources, as the new satellite will enable us to do, more effectively.”

Credit: SmartSat CRC.

Kanyini was chosen from a wide range of submissions from a total of fifty-seven primary and secondary schools across regional and metropolitan South Australia. The winning submission was selected by a panel that included local space industry leaders, along with an Aboriginal language expert. 

Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands General Manager Richard King has welcomed the connection of APY Lands to South Australia’s first satellite.  

“All communities on the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands are proud that the word ‘Kanyini’, a tenet of our ancient language, will be used for the new satellite,” Mr King said.

“The combination of ancient Australia and modern Australia coming together in this new space frontier will be a matter of great celebration for the first South Australians of Central Australian Deserts.”

Minister for Education John Gardner commented on the impressive calibre of all of the entries that were seen throughout the competition. 

“This is a fantastic initiative that supports the state government’s goal of inspiring and growing our next generation of space industry leaders through STEM education and activities,” he said.

“The response to the competition has been tremendous, and it has opened the door to conversations and learnings about future career opportunities in South Australia’s exciting and thriving space sector for thousands of students.”

Another artist’s impression of the SASAT-1 satellite, now named Kanyini. Credit: Alex Priest, Inovor Technologies.

Premier Steven Marshall thanked the students for contributing to South Australian space history and commented on the roles that these students may one day take on in the future of the Australian space industry. 

“Today, these students are naming the satellite, in a few years they could be working in one of the thousands of jobs expected to come online right here in South Australia – the space capital of Australia,” Premier Marshall said.

“The launch of Kanyini will be a significant achievement in South Australia’s space endeavours, and I congratulate the Findon High School students for their creativity and thoughtfulness.  

“It’s exciting to see so many young people passionate about space, with schools from right across the state contributing their ideas for this unique South Australian space mission.”

“Adelaide is at the centre of Australia’s growing space industry – we are already home to the Australian Space Agency, the Australian Space Discovery Centre and Mission Control at Lot Fourteen, and soon we will be the first State Government to send a locally manufactured small satellite to low earth orbit.”

You can follow Kanyini’s journey on the SA Space Services Mission Website