The Greek who leads Australia’s Space Agency
Greek professor Andreas Koronios is one of the most characteristic examples of a man, who started from scratch and thanks to his diligence, dedication, consistency and faith in his abilities, managed to stand out.
Born on 5 December, 1954, Andreas, was only two years old when his parents left him behind in Sparta and moved to Athens to seek employment. He was raised by his grandmother and after his yiayia’ s passing, he decided it was time to leave Greece and seek a better future in Australia. In December 1971, the 17-year-old boarded the legendary ship Patris and after a lengthy voyage disembarked in Melbourne.
“It was a big decision to leave Greece, but I didn’t have much of a choice. I wanted to do more with my life, but opportunities were limited,” says Mr. Koronios. He attended a night school to learn English and from there he managed to secure a seat in the Australian Army.
“I came to my uncles, they brought me here and I am very grateful to them. I did not know what to do and what I would do when I came to Australia. Due to the fact that I had not served in the Greek army, I decided to serve in the Australian and that changed my life forever, ” he recalls. He carried out his military duties during the day, played Aussie Rules Football and studied English at night, until a sports injury forced him to explore a different career path.
After 18 months in Melbourne and intense military training, Koronios was posted at the Army Aviation Base in Queensland. After completing an electrical engineering degree, he branched into IT. After completing his master’s degree, he visited the US as part of his studies and gradually moved up the academic hierarchy while researching and teaching upon his return.
He became an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and was promoted to Head of School. In 2002, he took the opportunity to lead the School of Computer Science at the University of South Australia. He became the Head of IT and Mathematics School before becoming the dean for Industry and Enterprise.
Recently, he has been appointed the CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Smart Satellite Technologies (SmartSat CRC). Alongside the Australian Space Agency and the Space Discovery Centre, Adelaide will be the strategic and decision-making headquarters of SmartSat CRC, reinforcing South Australia’s long-standing contribution to the nation’s space journey.
The SmartSat CRC is a consortium of industry and research organisations that will develop game changing technologies to bootstrap Australia’s space industry and catapult it into becoming a half trillion dollar global economy. Professor Koronios is leading the project by working on intelligent satellite systems, advanced communications and analytics to further develop advanced communications and Earth observations from space.
“We have worked hard to create a Research Center that, among other things, specializes in space-related issues and I am very happy to be given the opportunity to lead this venture, focusing on intelligent satellite systems, advanced communications and geosciences” comments Mr. Koronios.
The project has already over 85 participants, such as Airbus, Thales, SAAB as well as many other organisations which include Australian companies and startups. Along with the government they have raised over $245 million.
“I love Greece, it’s my place and I will always go back there, but at the same time I can only feel my debt to Australia that has treated me so well, and I think it was the crew of time through this ambitious endeavor to help on the development of this place for our children and grandchildren” he says.