Govt to review Australian space sector

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Govt to review Australian space sector

Meet the academic and industry leaders overseeing the process.

The government is set to review Australia’s space industry with a view to creating a strategy to support its growth over the course of the next decade.

The capability review will be led by an expert review group chaired by former CSIRO chief executive Dr Megan Clark.

Also advising the review will be:

  • UNSW Canberra’s chair for space engineering Professor Russell Boyce, who is spearheading a $10m push to “fly affordable, responsible in-orbit missions” using cubesats to test and develop “innovative new technologies for spacecraft”. The uni went to market for seven engineers earlier this year and claims to have “the largest space capability in Australia.”
  • Michael Davis, who chairs the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA). His organisation expressed disappointment earlier this year when the federal budget saw no money allocated to a civil space program for Australia - something the SIAA has been pressing for, particularly as Australia grows its credentials as a hub for cubesat development.
    “The SIAA appreciates that its proposals constitute a rethinking of the governmental structures required for the administration and oversight of a permanent national space program,” the SIAA said. “We will continue to advocate for the establishment of an internationally recognised national space agency as a fundamental first step in a strategy to build on our scientific and industrial capabilities.”
  • Dr David Williams, who is presently a CSIRO director with executive oversight of areas including astronomy and space science, the Australian Telescope National Facility, and Data61. He was previously chief executive of the United Kingdom Space Agency.
  • Dr Stuart Minchin, who heads environmental geoscience at Geoscience Australia and has a strong interest in Earth observation and monitoring.
  • Professor Steven Freeland, who is dean of the school of law at Western Sydney University and has a strong background in space law and policy development.
  • Professor Anna Moore, who is the director of ANU’s advanced instrumentation and technology centre (AITC). She has built major instruments used in observatories worldwide, including in Australia, Japan and the United States.
  • Dr Jason Held, who is the director and founder of Saber Astronautics, which has operations in Sydney. He was previously a US Army major and Army space support team leader for USSTRATCOM (formerly Space Command), and has worked on major projects including the Hubble space telescope. He’s also the founder of the Delta-V space accelerator which supports aerospace start-ups in Sydney.
  • Flavia Tata Nardini, co-founder and CEO of Adelaide’s Fleet Space Technologies. Last month she wrote an open letter to the government asking for a “dedicated Australian space agency”. She began her career at the European Space Agency as a propulsion test engineer.

The review will begin this month and is expected to be completed by the end of March 2018. It is expected to consult with “key stakeholders and state jurisdictions”, among others.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos, said the review “will lead to a national strategy for the space sector that reflects both our developing strengths and national interests over the next decade".

“Ensuring that the right strategic framework is in place to support the growth of Australian’s space industry will be core to the review process,” he said in a statement.

“The Australian government wants to ensure the right framework and mix of incentives are in place to assist Australia’s growing space industry sector to participate successfully in this global market.”

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