The International Space Centre was officially launched at the University of Western Australia (UWA) on Thursday (28 January) at a ceremony attended by federal Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and WA Minister for Science Dave Kelly.
Through the new centre, UWA aims to combine space science, research and teaching capabilities to advance the development of new technologies that enhance and sustain life on Earth and beyond.
A UWA team of over 12 research nodes, 150 researchers and 20 PhD students are set to collaborate across fields ranging from optical communications, astrophysics, health, agriculture, engineering, information technology, and social studies.
Among the research activities conducted at the centre will be the study of gravity and space on human physiology and plant biology to support space exploration and life on other planets.
“The centre will build on WA’s strength in mining, astronomy, data, communications and remote operations, and support the diversification of the WA economy and jobs growth in high skill areas,” interim head of the International Space Centre, UWA associate professor Danail Obreschkow (Australian Research Council Future Fellow), said.
“Through this centre, we will collaborate with partners to transfer knowledge, develop technological innovations and carry out impactful research. The centre will also provide new education opportunities for our students and industry.”
UWA vice-chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said advancing the scientific community’s understanding of how to sustain life in space would have enormous implications for human development and innovation.
“There is still much to learn about space and this centre will be an important step forward in providing new research and knowledge, integral to our future,” Professor Chakma said.
“For more than half a century, UWA has been actively involved in space research and developing space technologies.
“The International Space Centre is an acknowledgement of this, and our own signal that we want to do more and that we will. It brings together people who can fire each other’s imagination and the possibilities of what they can achieve together are vast.”
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