Canberra: the National Home for the Australian Space Agency
Australia’s participation in the global space industry will be greatly enhanced by the newly created Australian Space Agency (the Agency).
A key priority for the Agency is to set national policy and strategy for the civil space sector. Canberra is the logical home for the Agency, given that all of the key national agencies are based in Canberra. There is also an established ecosystem of research facilities, space businesses, defence organisations and international stakeholders that will be critical to the Agency's operations.
Locating the Agency in Canberra will provide the national leadership to ensure that the agency meets the goals that have been set for it.
- Letter from ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr MLA to Australian space industry stakeholders
- Canberra: the national home for the Australian Space Agency
Why is Canberra the home for the Australian Space Agency?
Key partners for the Australian Space Agency are located in Canberra
- The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will help facilitate international relationships and treaties
- The Department of Defence has responsibility for the implementation of the development of Australia’s space defence capabilities as set out in the Defence White Paper
- CSIRO has significant interest in space activities and manages the Deep Space Communications Centre at Tidbinbilla in Canberra under contract to NASA.
- Geoscience Australia is responsible for Australia’s position, navigation and timing, and Earth observation capabilities.
- The Department of Communications and the Arts is responsible for satellite communications and spectrum management.
- The Australian Communications and Media Authority is responsible for spectrum management.
- The Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for space law and international treaty law.
- The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has responsibility for positioning, navigation and timing in the transport sector.
- The Department of the Environment and Energy has responsibility for environment management through Earth observation.
- The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has responsibility for agriculture production through Earth observation technologies.
- National security agencies such as the Australian Signals Directorate, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Cyber Security Centre are located in Canberra.
Canberra leads Australia in key capabilities needed to drive Australia's space agenda including:
- The Space Mission Concurrent Design Facility at UNSW Canberra, combined with the ANU National Space Test Facilities, provides Australia's only end-to-end facilities for the design, building and testing of spacecraft.
- Geoscience Australia's Satellite-Based Augmentation System, National Positioning Infrastructure Capability and Digital Earth are all managed in Canberra, supported by the National Computational Infrastructure at ANU.
- CSIRO's Centre for Earth Observation, Headquartered in Canberra, will be a catalyst for engagement with Australian businesses, government agencies and research organisations.
- The Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) located at Mount Stromlo combined with EOS Space Systems makes Canberra a leader in space situational awareness and debris monitoring.
- The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex managed on behalf of NASA by CSIRO, is one of only three NASA Deep Space Network Facilities in the world and currently supports more than 30 deep space missions.
- The Space Tracking Treaty with the USA was recently extended to 2043 and is expected to deliver nearly $400 million to Canberra's economy.
Canberra has an established space ecosystem of national and international companies that are leading the way in Australia's space capability. Almost one in four Australian space sector jobs are already in Canberra.
The Canberra Region Space Industry Capability Directory showcases Canberra Region based space companies such as Q-Labs, Liquid Instruments, Locata, Shoal Group, EOS Space Systems, Geoplex, Geospatial Intelligence, Clearbox, Nova, Equatorial Launch Australia, ViaSat, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Airbus Defence and Space.
Leaders in education, research and strategic thinking
The research and innovation needed to underpin Australia's growing space industry is being actively provided by Canberra's educational and research institutions.
The ANU and UNSW Canberra are Australia's most active higher education institutions in space-related disciplines. CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the Space Environment Research Centre all undertake significant, globally linked space related activities in Canberra.
Access to a large, highly technical and scientific workforce
- 41% of Canberra's adult population holds a bachelors' degree or higher qualification.
- The Knowledge City Index 2017 found that Canberra has both the underlying knowledge capital and the activated knowledge economy that sets it apart from all other cities in Australia.
- Canberra is home to world-class small, medium and large space-related enterprises and high-tech companies providing a fertile environment for innovation opportunities.
ACT Government’s commitment to supporting the growth of the space industry
With our businesses, infrastructure, innovation and research strengths, Canberra is well placed to grow and sustain a thriving space sector.
The ACT Government is committed to working with the national space sector to help build a significant and globally competitive industry including:
- Committing $9.75 million over three years to support the growth of key sectors including the space industry.
- Ongoing identification and promotion of investment and trade opportunities within the space and spatial industry in Canberra.
- Driving Australian Government recognition of the significance and growth potential of the sector.
- Improving coordination and development of sector-related policy across all levels of government.
- Growing public, business and political awareness and commitment to the viability of the sector.
- Collaborating with all sector players to define strategic focus for growing the industry.
- Continuing to attract and support emerging technologies, entrepreneurs, and businesses in Canberra.
- Canberra Region Space Industry Capability Directory
- Canberra: the national home for the Australian Space Agency
Defence Industry Advocate, Kate Lundy