Space Agency signs with global satellite manufacturer

The Australian Space Agency has signed two agreements to develop Australian space capabilities.

On December 3, French multinational aerospace, defence, transport, and security company, Thales Group, formed an agreement with the Agency to provide its know-how and expertise in satellite systems.

While Thales already has a significant operating presence in Australia, delivering programs such as the Hawkeye military vehicles, its engagement in Australia’s space sector has been limited, until now.

Under the agreement, Thales will work with the Agency to find areas for collaboration, as Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, highlighted.

“This statement is designed to mutually identify key areas of investment as well as potential research, development and commercial opportunities.”

Andrews noted that by engaging a larger company such as Thales, Australian manufacturers have the opportunity to become part of global space networks.

“Engaging with big international players like Thales will allow Australian businesses, including our advanced manufacturers, to carve out a place in the international space supply chain,” she said.

In Europe, Thales in its joint venture with Leonardo, known as Thales Alenia Space, has manufactured satellites such as the recently launched Inmarsat GX5, which reached orbit on November 27.

According to Chris Jenkins, chief executive officer of Thales Australia, the partnership will continue the company’s work with Australian partners.

“Thales has been a long-term investor in Australia’s advanced technology sector, through comprehensive technology transfer and close collaboration with research agencies and specialised Australian SMEs,” said Jenkins.

“Together, Thales and the Australian Space Agency can build and develop the Australian workforce and SME sector to meet the future needs of the growing space economy.

In a separate announcement, the Agency signed a Statement of Strategic Intent and Cooperation  with Australian space tracking systems developer, EOS Space Systems. The agreement follows the key priority of the agency to develop situational awareness and debris monitoring technologies, as Anthony Murfett, deputy head of the Agency noted.

“EOS Space Systems are building, operating and developing the infrastructure to track the growing number of objects in space and keep Australians safe, on Earth and in space.”