Tasmania joins Australia’s space race

The federal and Tasmanian governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create jobs and advance the island state’s space industry.

According to Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the MoU will enable Tasmania to share in the Australian government’s investments in space technologies and programs. Specifically, the MoU sets out the terms for a $1.2 million investment in tracking facilities to be based in Tasmania. Existing infrastructure will be upgraded to allow precision tracking of satellites and spacecraft for orbit and de-orbit tracking.

“This MoU establishes a framework for Tasmanian businesses and organisations to get involved in the booming space industry,” said Andrews.

“The agreement will support Tasmanian businesses and research institutions to participate in international space projects and missions, while supporting the development of space skills in the state’s workforce.”

Will Hodgman, Tasmanian Premier, welcomed the announcement, highlighted how space activities will have wider effects in the state’s economy.

“Advanced manufacturing is a key economic driver for our state, and the Government is firmly committed to maintaining the growth in this important sector, which directly employs around 18,500 Tasmanians,” said Hodgman.

“Today’s MoU, coupled with our strategies to grow our advanced manufacturing and science and technology industries, will further enhance Tasmania’s reputation for high-quality, niche products and give our businesses the confidence and opportunity to grow.”

With infrastructure which could support space activities already present in the state, Michael Ferguson, Tasmanian Minister for Science and Technology, noted that the state was primed to be involved.

“Tasmania’s investment in new hypobaric facilities, growth of our advanced manufacturing skills base, our radio telescope network and our Antarctic gateway put Tasmania in a strong position,” he said.

“Through signing this MoU, our tracking facilities will play an even more prominent role in the next chapter of space exploration.”

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