As the global space sector is growing rapidly, Western Australia has significant geographic advantages with its southern hemisphere location and longitude, ideal weather and radio silence conditions, as well as world leading expertise to join the global space race.
Almost $700 million has been allocated the space sector by the Australian Government as part of its ambitions to triple the sector’s size to $12 billion and create an additional 20,000 jobs. Part of this funding is $20 million allocated to establish a Space Industries Fund, and $150 million was contributed to support Australian business involvement in NASA’s Moon to Mars mission.
In 2018 the Australian Space Agency was established to further bolster the Australian space sector.
Western Australia has a strong data analytics capability with applications for the agriculture, mining, defence and energy sectors. The State is world-leading in remote operations for use on-Earth and now works to adapt this expertise for remote operations on the Moon, Mars and beyond.
International engagement and opportunities in Western Australia
There are strong existing links and opportunities on the horizon between Western Australia and the UK and Europe in the space sector.
- The European Space Agency (ESA) has a deep space ground station in New Norcia located 150 kilometres north of Perth and will construct a second deep space antenna at its New Norcia ground station.
- The Swedish Space Corporation is operating the Dongara Satellite Station and the Yatharagga Satellite Station, both located about 400 kilometres northwest of Perth in Western Australia.
- European multinational aerospace corporation Airbus Defence and Space opened the world’s first High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite flight base in Wyndam, Western Australia, serving as the Zephyr launch site. Zephyr is the world’s leading, solar electric, stratospheric, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. The Zephyr runs exclusively on solar power, above the weather and conventional air traffic.
- The UK Government’s strong focus on space is cemented in its Industrial Strategy where AI and Robotics for extreme environments are listed as key future challenges. In September 2019 the Australian Space Agency and the UK Space Agency announced plans to establish a ‘Space Bridge’. This Space Bridge is designed to set the foundations for collaboration between the national space agencies, academia and industry and create trade opportunities between Australia and the UK. The framework agreement between the UK and Australia is anticipated to be finalised in early-2021.
Remote Operations and Robotics
Western Australia teams up with UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult in the global space race
There is a renewed focus on astronomy and space science in the public consciousness and the global space industry is undergoing a rapid reinvention expected to reach US$1.1 trillion by 2040 according to Morgan Stanley.
Space-based data is revolutionising Western Australia’s key sectors mining, oil and gas, defence and agriculture with its many applications, including vegetation and remediation mapping, yield monitoring, autonomous vehicle and drone positioning, defence satellite communications, and satellite imagery and communications.
It is on space applications the WA Government (WAGO) recently teamed up with UK’s Satellite Applications Catapult (the Catapult) to enable more collaboration between Western Australia and UK space businesses…. Read more
Client: The Satellite Applications Catapult