Australian space sector on show at 70th IAC in Washington

Stephen Kuper

Australia’s space industry is on display this week at the world’s premier and longest running space sector event, the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington, in response to the US Vice President’s calls for international collaboration.

Australian space sector on show at 70th IAC in Washington
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More than a dozen Australian space companies and research organisations, ranging from established aerospace businesses to start-ups to universities are exhibiting their capabilities at the Australian Space Agency stand.

South Australia is represented by Nova Systems, SmartSat CRC, Neumann Space, Inovor Technologies, Silentium Defence, Southern Launch, Flinders University and the University of South Australia’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre.

Also attending the event is federal Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews.

The IAC was first held in 1950 in Paris and is convened annually in a member nation. Adelaide hosted the 68th IAC in 2017 and next year will be held in Dubai.

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IAC brings together more than 6,000 players in the space sector, including scientists, researchers, engineers, national agencies, businesses, students and astronauts to discuss opportunities in the booming international space business.

The event was opened this week by US Vice President Mike Pence, who said the US was again leading the world in space exploration but was keen to work with like-minded nations to expand humanity’s reach to the cosmos.

He specifically mentioned Australia as one of those like-minded nations.

“Just last month Australia announced a historic a $150 million investment in the burgeoning space industry in their country, including through support of NASA’s Artemis lunar program and our future mission to Mars,” he said.

South Australian Space Industry Centre chief executive Richard Price said the IAC presented the perfect opportunity for SA to highlight its space credentials.

“Our space ecosystem is developing at a rapid rate, and we want to showcase this to the world, to attract more investment across this high-growth sector in our state,” he said.

“The federal government has an ambition to triple the size of Australia’s space economy by 2030, and [South Australia] is committed to supporting this endeavour.

“We are working collaboratively at a national level to grow Australia’s space economy and support the Australian Space Agency in its endeavours to build international collaboration.

“The IAC is a fantastic opportunity for our innovative start-ups, companies and universities to showcase their cutting-edge technology and ideas to space heavyweights and international companies.”

The SA government is currently seeking expressions of interest for international space companies to set up in the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct, which is already home to the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat CRC, Mission Control and the Space Discovery Centre.

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