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Australia-UK Space Bridge hits third anniversary

The heads of the Australian and UK space agencies have hailed the ‘Space Bridge’ partnership between the two countries as it marks its third anniversary.

The deal was signed on 23 February 2021 and facilitates collaboration on trade and investment, research and education, as well as encouraging the two governments to work together.

Since its formation, eight UK-Australian partnerships have been awarded grants under the former’s £20 million International Bilateral Fund, aimed at developing technologies that will advance global space capabilities.

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, hailed the collaboration for driving investment and establishing new connections between the two sectors.


“Space Bridge activities are demonstrating how working together in space drives outcomes across our economies,” he said.

The relationship between the two countries’ sectors can be traced back to the late 1960s, when the UK launched Black Arrow, a satellite carrier rocket, from Woomera, SA.

“The UK-Australia Space Bridge connects us with our Australian colleagues,” said Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency.

“It has unlocked greater innovation, promoted the exchange of knowledge, and forged new partnerships.


“Above all, it has bolstered a sense of collaborative ambition to strengthen both space sectors, as the team that recently went out to Australia saw first-hand.

“The UK-Australia partnership is a priority for the UK, and we look forward to driving forward initiatives via the Space Bridge.”

Australia’s space industry has a number of similar deals with other traditionally smaller space nations, including Italy, Japan and India.

Space Connect reported this month, for example, how the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) signed an MoU with its Indian equivalent to increase collaboration between the two countries’ space sectors.

The deal specifically addresses challenges, including managing space debris, advancing satellite technology and aiding integration with defence.

As part of the new partnership, the SIAA will participate in June’s India Space Congress event, while SIA-India will attend next year’s global IAC conference in Sydney.

The five-day International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is expected to attract around 7,000 delegates and will be held between 29 September and 3 October.

Organised by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the IAC is known as the Olympics of space and was first held in Paris in 1950.

Australia has hosted it twice – initially with the 49th IAC in Melbourne in 1998 and then with the 68th IAC in Adelaide in 2017.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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