SA manufacturing key to future Australian space agency

The ACT and South Australian governments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop Australia’s space industry.

According to an announcement by the ACT chief minister Andrew Barr, South Australia will bring a launch facility and its manufacturing history to the partnership, while Canberra is home to several research and technology companies, including EOS Space Systems, Geospatial Intelligence and Geoplex.

“The recent decision by the Commonwealth to establish an Expert Reference Group to review Australia’s space capabilities is a small step in the right direction, which we hope leads to the establishment of a national coordinating body for the space industry,” Barr said.

“Canberra has long been a vital part of the global space industry, transmitting signals and images from the first moon landing and from Mars, exporting world-leading telescope technology and hosting NASA’s deep space communication facilities.”

The Federal Government is expected make an announcement on Australia’s space industry is expected at the the International Astronautical Congress conference in South Australia next month.

Astronomer Brad Tucker, of the Australian National University, has welcomed the partnership and believes a national space industry would make Australia more appealing to other space programs including NASA.

“When you look at all the other models, take the NASA model, they work well because you have a whole bunch of different groups doing similar things, but collaboratively,” Tucker was quoted saying by ABC.

“One of the problems is if I want to go and contact someone from NASA, they say ‘who am I going to do this with?'” he said.

“But at the very least if I say ‘here in the ACT we already have this agreement between the two states you can work with us freely, you can sign on to this agreement right now’.”