Government announces $12 million in funding for space sector

- March 18, 2019 2 MIN READ

The Federal Government has announced $12 million in funding for the Australian space sector.

After naming Adelaide the home of the Australian Space Agency in December, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews today announced $6 million in funding for the construction of a Mission Control Centre at Adelaide’s Lot 14 innovation precinct.

According to Andrews, the Mission Control Centre will complement the work of the Australian Space Agency.  

“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,” she said.

Along with research and educational institutions, the Mission Control Centre will be available for use by space-focused businesses.

A further $6 million will go towards the establishing of a Space Discovery Centre, also in Adelaide.

It will provide science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) education and engagement programs for young Australians, along with activities such as mission simulation and training.

The funding is part of the Adelaide City Deal, which is expected to be signed by local, state, and government soon.

The City Deals, based on a UK model, are part of the Australian Government’s Smart Cities Plan announced in early 2015, focused on ‘smart investment’, ‘smart policy’, and ‘smart technology’. The Plan looks to build up the economies of regional cities and outer metropolitan areas by improving their accessibility, and the creation of more jobs and affordable housing.

Adelaide is the fourth location to get a City Deal, joining Townsville, Western Sydney, and Darwin.

It has been full steam ahead for the local space sector since the Australian Space Agency’s launch was first previewed in last May’s Budget.

The Agency officially launched on July 1 with $15 million in funding and former CSIRO boss Dr Megan Clark at the helm.

It has since inked partnerships with various partners, with a Statement of Strategic Intent and Cooperation with Lockheed Martin Australia among the latest.

“The agreement with Lockheed Martin Australia will make a significant contribution to industry growth and will help to inspire the next generation of Australians through STEM education and community awareness programs focused on space,” Dr Clark said.

The Agency also last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ACT Government.

The MoU will establish a framework of cooperation in the development of space-related industries; among the areas of cooperation include quantum communications, deep space communications, and space law.

Dr Clark said that all states and territories have a vital role to play in growing Australian space sector. In turn, she said the Agency will work closely will all jurisdictions across Australia as it establishes itself in Adelaide.

Image source: CSIRO.