Griffith University: First Nations students design ‘Joey’ mission patches

Griffith University and Gilmour Space Technologies are pleased to announce the winners of a mission patch design competition for ‘Joey’ – a small satellite bus demonstrator, jointly developed by Gilmour Space and Griffith, that will be launched to space in 2022.

The winners are 16-year-old Wypaan Ambrum, a Kuku Djungan woman from Trinity Bay State High School, Far North Queensland; and 17-year-old Kate Deane, a Trawlwoolway woman from Marist Regional College in Lutruwita (Tasmania). Both students are members of CSIRO’s Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy, which runs Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) programs for First Nations female students across Australia.

“We received some fantastic design submissions to represent the launch of our first 100-kilogram Australian made G-class satellites to space,” Shaun Kenyon, Program Manager for Satellites at Gilmour Space, said.


“Australia’s First Nations people have long been described as the world’s first astronomers, and it is only fitting that these designs by First Nations young women Wypaan and Kate will represent the two iterations of Joey that will be launched from Australia.”

The two winners will be invited to join a new Griffith University STEM program related to Space in 2022.

“Griffith University is pleased to offer this exciting experience to such talented and passionate students,” Professor Paulo de Souza, who heads Griffith University’s School of Information and Communication Technology, said.

“Our partnership with Gilmour Space Technologies is the first of its kind in Australia.”

“These students will come on board as part of our satellite development team, where, jointly with Gilmour, we will develop the largest satellite ever built in Australia.

“We look forward to sharing more news about this terrific initiative in 2022.”


Ms Ambrum explained her design choices.

“I wanted Indigenous art to be the focus in my patch design so non-Indigenous people can see we are still here,” she said.

“We are the longest living continuous culture in the world. I am a part of the Kuku Djungan tribe, and a part of the Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy.

“The figure at the top of the triangle is an Aboriginal symbol to represent a star. On the base of the triangle, you can see multiple circles representing different landforms which the satellite will monitor.”

“I love science, mainly biology and chemistry, and I also love art,” Ms Deane said.

“I am gradually incorporating my Indigenous identity into these endeavours. My design depicts a hexagonal patch, in the shape of the spacecraft.

“It features the spacecraft travelling through the night sky, and land and waterways below. I wanted to incorporate the richness of Country, with bold earthy red hues of ochre deposits and strong blue water, sustaining life. I incorporated styles and patterns similar to those found in petroglyphs throughout Tasmania.”


Susan Burchill, Director of CSIRO Education and Outreach said it had been an amazing experience for the members of their Young Indigenous Women’s STEM Academy.

“It all started with a virtual STEM experience in September, including a tour of Gilmour Space, which the young women found very inspiring,” she said.

“That led to the mission patch competition, and the opportunity for the winners now to learn more about space technology from Griffith University and to visit Gilmour Space in person.”

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