Dubbed the National Space Mission for Earth Observation, it will be led by the Australian Space Agency, and aims to make Australia “more self-sufficient” due to an ongoing track record of relying on other country’s satellite capabilities.
The mission is also expected to create hundreds of jobs.
“The information we get from Earth observation satellites is central to our everyday life – from forecasting the weather and responding to natural disasters through to managing the environment and supporting our farmers,” said Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price.
“This investment reinforces the Morrison government’s commitment to growing space capability here at home so we can remain safe and secure and create important economic opportunities.”
The investment for the satellites will extend until 2038-39, and $38.5 million per year ongoing will fund the first phase of the space mission.
According to the budget announcement, the project is set to create over 500 jobs for the first four years of the “build phase” and the government expects to utilise over 100 local companies for the supply chain.
“Developing and launching these first four Australian satellites will create the foundation of industry know-how for more complex space missions next decade. That means more expertise and more jobs right here in Australia in this critical industry,” Minister Price continued.
She also said it will “solidify” relationships with allied countries, so Australia will continue to benefit from their satellite data.
While this move is significant for Australia, the nation has already taken steps to establish satellite sovereign capability in recent months.
This includes the nationwide JP9102, a $3 billion project underway to create a new military satellite communication capability for Australia.
It’s hoped it will eventually reduce the country’s reliance on the United States’ defence capabilities, including the US military’s Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS).
Building sovereign technology such as these will draw more international investments and drive other countries to rely on Australia for space technology.
However, the government did not only invest in satellite manufacturing in the latest budget announcement.
It also includes $65.7 million over five years to establish conditions for rocket launch, $12.1 million over five years to remove cost recovery requirements under previous regulations, $9.5 million over two years to develop a Space Strategic Update, $3 million to enhance overseas relationships and $25.2 million to expand the International Space Investment Initiative and continue projects with India.
Since Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coalition began in 2018, over $2 billion has been allocated to the civil space sector.
Along with the ASA, the mission will be led by Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and Defence.
Bella Richards is a journalist who has written for several local newspapers, her university newspaper and a tech magazine, and completed her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney in 2020. She joined Momentum Media in 2021, and has since written breaking news stories across Space Connect, Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.
You can email Bella on: [email protected]
Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect here.