Australian Space Agency tasked with developing the country’s unified space strategy
The Australian Space Agency has been tasked with developing what the federal government calls a unified national space strategy to shape the sector over the next two decades and beyond.
Science and Technology Minister Melissa Price said the development of the Space Strategy Update stems from industry feedback that Australia needs better alignment efforts in the sector spatial.
“Through the Space Strategy Update, we will maximize investment and effort for all Australians,” she said.
The Australian Space Agency is expected to work with industry and government over the next 18 months to deliver the Space Strategy Update.
When completed, the update should provide a timeline of space programs and investment opportunities for the government, as well as plans for other areas of coordination.
“We will strengthen the coordination of investments and strategies, whether between states and territories, between governments or between our scientific, civil and defense activities,” said the head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo.
“Similarly, we must ensure we have internationally competitive regulations that support industry growth and entrepreneurship while ensuring public safety.”
Just last week, Australian National University vice-chancellor and Nobel laureate Brain Schmidt said greater collaboration between local universities would be needed to help Australia strengthen its sovereign spatial capabilities.
“Each of us must work within the ‘Team Australia’ ecosystem. [A] piecemeal approach, which I’m afraid is kind of the natural state of universities, is both inefficient and not growing,” he said.
In addition to the space strategy update, Price announced that there are no longer plans to introduce a space launch application fee, which would have been imposed on companies conducting domestic launch activities. The introduction of the partial cost recovery model has been postponed twice since it was first proposed as part of the 2019-20 Mid-Year Economic and Financial Outlook.
“Instead of allowing cost recovery to come into effect or postpone it again, we are waiving the launch permit application fee entirely,” Price said.
“We made this decision to provide you with the certainty you need to invest and to help our small and medium-sized space businesses continue to grow.”
In addition, the dedicated Space Manufacturing Center in South Australia has received an additional AU$20 million from the Federal Government to help get the project off the ground.
The AU$20 million contribution comes on top of the AU$20 million the South Australian government has already committed to the AU$66 million project.
The hub is being developed by the South Australian government in partnership with a consortium of space manufacturing companies – Fleet Space Technologies, Q-CTRL, ATSpace and Alauda Aeronautics.
The four companies will come together at the facility to collaborate and produce small satellites, rockets, electric vertical take-off and ground vehicles, and support technical components and systems. The Australian Space Park will be located at Adelaide Airport.
“This is a huge opportunity for Australia. Our space businesses are already recognized around the world, but these investments are aimed at boosting their potential for expansion and creating more high-value jobs for Australians,” said Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor. .
“Not only will this investment in South Australia help grow our space sector, it will foster the next generation of space makers and researchers.”
This latest investment from the federal government comes on top of the A$65 million announced last week to help “accelerate” Australia’s space sector.
The federal government has so far committed over A$850 million to building Australia’s space capabilities since 2018 as part of its “mission to triple the size of the sector and create up to 20,000 new jobs by 2030”. This objective has been defined as part of the Australian civil space strategy.
Also on Thursday, Optus announced that it will use SpaceLogistics’ Mission Robotic Vehicle (MRV) and Mission Expansion Module (MEP) to extend the life of its D3 satellite in orbit for up to six years.
The MRV, a spacecraft capable of robotically servicing multiple orbiting satellites, including installing an MEP, will be launched by SpaceX in 2024.
“MRV’s sophisticated robotics will provide Optus with the ability to attach the MEP to D3, which is effectively a fuel tank that extends geostationary life. Once on board, the MEP will augment the D3 satellite’s propulsion system d ‘Optus, providing an additional six years of life extension,’ Optus said.