Engage! New space strategy sets vision for Aussie space sector

Max Blenkin

Dr Megan Clark head of the Australian Space Agency has officially announced the next step in supporting Australia's ability to participate in joint space missions with international partners and multi-lateral organisations.

Dr Clark said, "It lays out a phased investment in our national civil space priorities for Australia and sets a timetable for regulatory reform to enable launch to space from Australia and the foundations for human space flight from Australia."

The new strategy, released in conjunction with the federal budget, stands on four pillars:

  • To open the door for Australian innovators and grow a connected, respected and globally competitive space industry in Australia;
  • To increase Australian space capability from areas of strength, addressing challenges and transforming and growing an Australian space sector that lifts the economy and takes us into areas of future competitive advantage;
  • To promote a responsible space sector culture that is globally respected and ensures national safety and security under an appropriate regulatory framework that meets international obligations and standards; and
  • To create a workforce with a vision to build an Australian space sector that inspires industry, researchers, government and the Australian community to grow the next generation of the space workforce.

Activities under these pillars will be guided by seven national civil space priorities – position, navigation and timing; Earth observation; communication technologies and services; space situational awareness and debris monitoring; leapfrog research and development, robotics and automation; and access to space.

"Australia’s space sector must also address the challenges of a fiercely competitive and rapidly growing space sector while building scale and addressing market barriers," Dr Clark said.

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She said the first two – position, navigation and timing, and Earth observation received funding in the 2018 budget. While communication technologies and ground infrastructure will be a focus in 2019-21 with this week’s budget funding a mission control facility in Adelaide. 

"The agency has a vital role to help open the door internationally for our research and industry sectors and set a relevant legal and regulatory framework that meets our international obligations and facilitates growth in our industry while maintaining safe and secure operation in space and on Earth," Dr Clark said.

 

She added that the time was right for Australia to leverage its competitive advantages unique location to connect with space, robotics, sensors and automation, advanced communication, quantum technology, rocket propulsion, space medicine and astronomy to take a place in the global space sector.

Dr Clark said Australia’s space sector touched virtually every sector of the Australian economy. That includes sending satellites and spacecraft into space as well as using space to help us communicate, locate and see the Earth in new ways.

"Australia has a strong and dynamic space sector, with high ambitions, great potential characterised by creativity, entrepreneurship and a sense of discovery," she said.

Dr Clark said ASA would report every two years on progress towards the goal of tripling the space sector contribution to Australia’s GDP to $12 billion and creating 20,000 more jobs by 2030.

"This strategy provides the certainty of a long-term framework around which the sector can plan its activities towards the long-term transformation and growth of the industry," she said.

The Australian Civil Space Strategy outlines the government’s plan to transform and grow our space industry over 10 years. Both the government and Australian Space Agency envision an industry that lifts the broader economy, inspires and improves the lives of Australians.

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