West Australia bids to house Australia’s new space agency

| June 12, 2018

A new report, sponsored by a range of West Australian space firms and academic bodies, argues that the state would offer an ideal home for the Australian National Space Agency.

The ACIL Allen report concludes WA’s has geographic advantages and expertise required to have a thriving space industry, which align with the objectives of the Australian Space Agency.

Priority areas for the space agency include communications technologies, satellite data, Space Situational Awareness and debris monitoring, artificial intelligence, robotics and big data analytics.

The ACIL Allen report argues that these geographic advantages have been reinforced by investments in communications and computational infrastructure and access to technical expertise.

Western Australia’s southern hemisphere location and latitude are also ideal for space situational awareness and networks that required global coverage of space assets.

This creates significant opportunities for space situational awareness, optical communications, astronomy, space operations and defence space applications

Western Australia also hosts substantial capability in the development and use of space derived applications and services.  A major competitive advantage lies in applications in agriculture, mining, offshore oil and gas and remote operations and robotics.’

There are already 74 international and Australian companies with a presence in WA operating in space and space related services.

The report was commissioned by a Steering Group, chaired by WA Chief Scientist, Professor Peter Klinken AC, of stakeholders from the space sector, including the State’s four universities.

Western Australia has already been involved in the space industry for nearly 60 years and has been involved in major projects such as the European Space Agency’s ground station at New Norcia, a range of commercial space communications stations, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research.

The state’s Science and Innovation and ICT Minister Dave Kelly agreed that “WA is the perfect fit for the Australian Space Agency and I’m calling on the Federal Government to base the agency here.

“The report shows WA has the geography, capability and local expertise to have a thriving space industry.

“The Federal Government also has the perfect opportunity to launch the Australian Space Agency right here right now in WA, by partnering with the European Space Agency who want to build a second deep-space antenna in New Norcia.

“Growing the space industry in WA will create local jobs, provide more opportunities for our local businesses and help diversify the WA economy.

“I will now work with WA’s Chief Scientist to lead an Industry Roundtable in July to further promote WA’s position as the perfect home for the Australian Space Agency.”

The state’s Chief Scientist, Professor Peter Klinken, argues that “The opportunities for WA to contribute to Australia’s space industry are significant and exciting.

“I am delighted that the review of WA’s space industry highlighted the same sort of capabilities and opportunities that the Federal Government’s own space industry capability review highlighted.

“I look forward to working closely with Dr Megan Clark, the interim Head of the new Australian Space Agency.”