$12m boost for Australian space sector

Friday, 22 March, 2019

$12m boost for Australian space sector

The Australian Government has announced $12 million in funding to strengthen the nation’s space sector, consisting of $6 million towards a Mission Control Centre and $6 million to establish a Space Discovery Centre.

Both will be based in Adelaide, the home of the Australian Space Agency, and are being built with the support of and in collaboration with the South Australian Government.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Mission Control Centre will be built at Lot Fourteen — a former hospital site in a prominent city location — and complement the work of the national space agency, which will also be based at Lot Fourteen together with the Office of South Australia’s Chief Entrepreneur, Jim Whalley, and a variety of space- and defence-related start-ups.

“The Mission Control Centre will be a focal point for space missions in Australia, providing facilities to control small satellite missions, enabling real-time control and testing, and the accelerated development of Australian satellite technology,” Andrews said.

“It will be available for use by space start-ups and small-to-medium enterprise space businesses, as well as research and educational institutions from across Australia.”

The Space Discovery Centre, meanwhile, will provide STEM education, engagement and inspiration for young Australians, as well as activities such as mission simulation and training for tertiary education.

The new funding forms part of the Adelaide City Deal, which aims to drive population, economic growth and renewal within the CBD. The deal was announced in December and will soon be signed by the three levels of government.

“These investments will help the Australian Space Agency foster the growth of a globally competitive space industry, worth about US$345 billion,” Andrews said.

Plans for the Australian Space Agency were originally announced in September 2017, with the agency officially established in July 2018. The Australian Government is investing $41 million over four years in its development, including $26 million to help launch the agency, as part of its plan to grow the sector and create an additional 1.25 million jobs in the next five years.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision to base the Australian Space Agency in South Australia reinforced the state’s longstanding contribution to Australia’s space journey. He said the agency would “turbocharge” efforts to triple Australia’s space economy to $12 billion and create up to 20,000 jobs by 2030.

“South Australia is the ideal location for the Australian Space Agency, with a range of local space industry businesses already established here as well as a rapidly growing defence industry sector,” the Prime Minister said.

“Establishing the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency in South Australia will launch our space and defence sectors to the next level.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/3dsculptor

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