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Aussie space interns UK-bound

Aussie space interns UK-bound

Three Australian student interns of the Airbus Space Internship program will head to the UK as part of a bilateral space cooperation initiative.

The successful interns — Hayley Nitschke, Sophie Hagley, and Meaghan Munro will work on a series of live international space missions being supported by Airbus’ UK divisions.

It is the first time an international space internship program has been run between Australia and the UK and forms part of the UK-Australia Space Bridge Framework Agreement, designed to enhance bilateral cooperation and strengthen both nations’ space industries.

The initiative is supported by several government agencies on both sides, including Austrade and the Australian Space Agency as well as the UK Department for International Trade and the UK Space Agency.


Airbus Defence and Space launched their Airbus Space Internship program in July this year for 2023 placements. The program is designed to help foster the next generation of Australian space leaders.

The interns will be initially placed in the secure comms organisation within Airbus Defence and Space’s Communications, Intelligence and Security (CIS) division. They will get the opportunity to work at Airbus’ Portsmouth, Stevenage and Hawthorn sites in the UK.

These locations are home to the SKYNET 5 military satellite communications program, one of the leading international SATCOM programs.

Training covered in the program will encompass end-to-end satellite and spacecraft engineering, including payload design, manufacturing and operation.


The program will also see the students engage with a range of different mission types, from military SATCOM and civilian telecom to space exploration.

Airbus’ involvement in the UK-Australia Space Bridge Framework Agreement comes off the back of the company’s efforts to promote the growth of the Australian space sector and its sovereign capabilities through its leadership of Team Maier, which is bidding for the JP 9102 military satellite communication program.

Martin Rowse, director for Space - Australia at Airbus Defence and Space, commented on the program and its goals.

“Space technology already touches every corner of modern society and Australia has an opportunity to be a leader in this emerging economy. While we have amazing tech and engineering talent in Australia, we can speed the development of future leaders up through giving them lived experience of missions.”

Jennifer Mackinlay, general manager for Europe at Austrade, also weighed in on the new program.

“The UK and Australia share future ambitions for space. The UK-Australia Space Bridge, signed in 2021, was designed to strengthen the ties between our countries as well as grow the number of jobs and capability across our respective space industries,” she said.

“The Airbus intern program is a great example of practical bilateral collaboration supported by the Space Bridge. It addresses the industry’s needs in relation to future workforce, creating new career pathways into highly skilled jobs in emerging technology sectors.”

Liam McAneny

Liam McAneny

Liam McAneny is a journalist who has written and edited for his University International Relations journal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2021. He joined Momentum Media in 2022 and currently writes for SpaceConnect and Australian Aviation. Liam has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations as well as astronomy.

Send Liam an email at: [email protected]

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