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The CSIRO Centre for Earth Observation was officially launched in June 2018.

The Centre coordinates a range of Earth-observing activities within CSIRO and engages with Australian businesses, other government agencies and research organisations involved in Earth Observation (EO). The Centre’s aim is to provide technical support to the Australian space sector, and help streamline research and the operation of projects through advances in remote sensing technologies. The Centre also plays a key role in our international engagement with the global EO community.

The range of work that the Centre is involved in is very broad:

  • managing CSIRO’s requirements for satellite tasking, downlink and data distribution for the new NovaSAR satellite;
  • overseeing the Cubesat technology demonstrator project, a collaboration with university and industry partners;
  • coordinating internal communities of practice (SAR, hyperspectral, LiDAR), and liaison with domestic government;
  • coordinating representation (including on boards and working groups) at international fora, such as GEO and CEOS; and,
  • hosting EO events, such as an upcoming international workshop to consult Pacific island nations’ satellite data needs for sustainable development.


The core team consists of six people, spread across five national offices:

Dr Alex Held, Director (Canberra)

As well as Director of the Centre, Alex is also serving as the co-lead of the “Landscapes Assessment” facility of Australia’s “Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network” – TERN, which provides free and open access to various satellite-derived products for ecosystem science and land management. Previously he served as Head of COSSA (the CSIRO Office of Space Science and Applications) from 2004 -December 2007, representing Australia at several space-related international committees, and served as a member of the National Committee for Space Science of the Australian Academy of Science. He was part of the team which held the 2016 Chair of the international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites – CEOS. He is a plant physiologist from the University of California, Davis, and has been linking remote sensing and vegetation mapping at CSIRO since arriving in Australia 26 years ago.

Dr Kimberley Clayfield, Executive Manager, Space Sciences and Technology (Brisbane)

Kimberley’s role focuses on space strategy, the establishment of new space-related initiatives within CSIRO, technical program management, and supporting Australian industry development. Kimberley is also involved in a part-time secondment to the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) as Program Leader of the High Altitude Sensor Systems Program. Kimberley’s previous experience includes time as the CSIRO SKA Consortium Officer, and managing CSIRO’s administrative obligations in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Dish Consortium. Prior to joining CSIRO, Kimberley was Assistant Manager of Space Policy within the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. Dr Clayfield holds a PhD in mechanical engineering, a MBA from the International Space University, and additional graduate qualifications in space science and public policy. In 2014 Kimberley received the prestigious Lawrence Sperry Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Flora Kerblat, International Coordination & Partnerships (Adelaide)

Flora is a French geographer holding a Master’s degree in Geopolitics from the Sorbonne University. Drawing on her 10-year experience in international development & project management including 3 years with CSIRO on Earth Observation projects, Flora’s role focuses on partnerships across the globe. In addition to managing bilateral agreements with stakeholders (mostly Space agencies), she supports CEOS (Committee on Earth Observation Satellites) and GEO (Group on Earth Observations) activities by coordinating CSIRO efforts in CEOS & GEO governance bodies, and also more specifically on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). She also handles analysis, research & communication activities, such as the CEOS handbook on SDG (2018), and the White Paper on Earth Observation & Official Statistics for the UN Global Working Group on Satellite Imagery and Geo-Spatial Information (2016).

Jennifer Zhu, Coordination and Communications (Canberra)

Jennifer Zhu comes from a background in science and government. She has an ANU Honours degree in Physics, a European Masters in Social Science, and is a graduate of the International Space University’s Space Studies Program. Her career path has taken her through the Australian and New Zealand public services, working in areas as diverse as nuclear, innovation, immigration, agriculture, international trade, as well as the Prime Minister’s Department. After several years of working overseas and extensive travel she is back in Canberra working in the space sector with CSIRO.

Laura Brindle, Satellite Operations and Data Manager (Sydney)

Laura manages CSIRO’s new requirements for satellite tasking, downlink and data distribution, initially for CSIRO’s 10% capacity share in the NovaSAR-1 satellite. Laura joins the team with 8 years experience in the European satellite industry, having previously worked for DMC International Imaging Ltd (originally a subsidiary of SSTL, the UK manufacturer and operator of NovaSAR-1), and Airbus Defence & Space.

Dr Amy Parker, Satellite Operations and Data Manager (Perth)

Amy Parker has joined the CCEO as the acting Satellite Operations and Data Manager while Laura Brindle is on leave. She will manage CSIRO’s requirements for satellite tasking, downlink, data processing and distribution, throughout the commissioning and initial operational phase of NovaSAR-1. Amy is a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data expert. She has a PhD from the University of Bristol, UK, and has authored numerous publications on the use of SAR interferometry to understand natural hazards. Prior to joining CSIRO Amy has worked with Curtin University and Geoscience Australia.


Dr Robert Woodcock, Principal Senior Research Consultant (Canberra)







Several other CSIRO members from around the country also make important contributions to the work of the Centre, including from the following Business Units: Minerals, Land & Water, Data61, Information Management and Technology, Manufacturing.