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Canberra to ground control: ACT perfect for Space Agency base

Canberra to ground control: ACT perfect for Space Agency base
ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr has launched the ACT's push to act as the home for the Australian Space Agency

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr joined some of the nations leading space experts to support Canberra’s bid to play home to the nations newly minted Australian Space Agency through the launch of the ACT governments Space Agency Prospectus.  

Professor Brian Schmidt AC (ANU), Professor Michael Frater (UNSW Canberra) and Professor Anna Moore (ANU National Space Test Facility) joined Barr to show their support for the agency to be located in Canberra, at the heart of national policy where it can drive the growth Australias space industry across the country.

Barr said Canberra provides a compelling, enabling environment for the agency, with a high concentration of space industry organisations with extensive technological capability, including: 

  • ANU’s national space testing facilities at Mount Stromlo;
  • The Space Mission Concurrent Design Facility at UNSW (ADFA) Canberra, combined with the ANU national space testing facilities, provides Australia's only end-to-end facilities for the design, building and testing of spacecraft;
  • Major multinational companies that have an interest in the development of the Australian space economy, such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman;
  • Major Commonwealth government agencies who will be important partners for the agency, such as the Department of Defence; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Attorney-General’s Department; Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; GeoScience Australia; the NASA Deep Space Tracking Station; the Space Environment Research Centre; and CSIRO; and
  • Significant commercial players such as EOS Space Systems, Geospatial Intelligence, Geoplex, Quintessence Labs, Liquid Instruments and Skykraft, among many others.

To further support the ACT government's commitment to securing the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency, Barr announced $250,000 to the national space testing facilities located at Mount Stromlo to provide greater access to the facilities for space sector SMEs. 

The ACT government is committed to working with the national space sector to help build a significant and globally competitive industry, including:

  • Committing $9.75 million over three years to support the growth of key sectors, including the space industry;
  • Ongoing identification and promotion of investment and trade opportunities within the space and spatial industry in Canberra;
  • Driving Australian government recognition of the significance and growth potential of the sector;
  • Improving coordination and development of sector-related policy across all levels of government;
  • Growing public, business and political awareness and commitment to the viability of the sector;
  • Collaborating with all sector players to define strategic focus for growing the industry; and
  • Continuing to attract and support emerging technologies, entrepreneurs and businesses in Canberra.

Barr went further, saying that he will continue to engage with Dr Megan Clark AO, head of the Australian Space Agency, over the next six months, as well as other state and territory government colleagues to work towards the best possible outcome for Australia’s participation in the global space industry and the national space sector. 

More information on the ACT government's Space Agenda and prospectus is available here.

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