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Australia in Space Magazine, Issue 4, 2022 - EDITOR'S DESK

Welcome to edition four of the Australia in Space Magazine and released as Official Media Partners to The Andy Thomas Space Foundation’s 14th Space Forum.

This edition follows our attendance in Paris with the International Astronautical Federation who gathered more than 9,300 delegates from 110 countries at the 73rd International Astronautical Congress (IAC). We provide insights into this global event where, throughout the week, more than 3,000 papers were presented and facilitated over 800 presentations.

Australia emerged as one of the big winners from IAC. Sydney was announced as the host city for IAC 2025, an event that is expected to bring around 5,000 delegates from around the world. Sydney’s success follows Adelaide hosting the conference in 2017.

“IAC 2025 will create opportunities for Australian industry, both those already operating in space and those with the potential to contribute to make new connections, accelerate the adoption of critical technologies and tap into global supply chains,” said Australian Space Agency Head, Enrico Palermo.

Alongside the IAC 2025 announcement was the release of an AROSE study, commissioned by the Australian Space Agency that confirmed, for the first time, that there is sufficient design and advanced manufacturing capability within Australia to build, test and operate a Lunar Services Rover in support of NASA’s return mission to the Moon.

We have also seen the first Australian commercial launch provider, Southern Launch, sign a Space Situational Awareness Sharing Agreement with the United States Space Command. Under the arrangement, Southern Launch will notify ahead of launches to identify launch windows that ensure the trajectory of launch vehicles avoids space objects already in orbit.

Virgin Orbit has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Wagner Corporation, proprietor of the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and Business Park in Queensland. The agreement will allow the companies to begin the process of implementing a national launch capability, with the goal of providing satellite launch services from the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport using Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne System. The companies are exploring the potential to certify Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport as a national spaceport to perform an orbital launch demonstration, as early as 2024.

Optus has announced a partnership with Space Machines Company to provide the Australian public and private sector with an option to not only operate satellites from Australia, but now build them. Ben White, Managing Director, Wholesale, Satellite and Strategy at Optus said, “Optus is committed to supporting the growth of the Australian space industry and increasing awareness of our country’s technology and space capabilities.

With a focus on satellites, SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and cosine have announced that the hyperspectral imaging camera, HyperScout 2 Flight Model instrument, will be onboard the South Australia (SA) state satellite and is now ready to be integrated into the spacecraft. HyperScout 2 will be launched into space on board the satellite Kanyini, a 6U CubeSat, as part of the SA Space Services Mission and will provide critical data to government and non-government agencies. The launch of the satellite is part of the SA Space Sector Strategy 2030 and is Australia’s first state-based satellite.

Euroconsult has published new research indicating the satellite industry is likely to see an explosion of services-driven revenue to the tune of a cumulative $1.2 trillion by 2031, with the share of data applications jumping from 15% of total market revenues to a remarkable 42% by 2031.

A falling average revenue per user (ARPU) and a fiercely competitive market have been the main drivers for changes in strategies, with operators pushed to look for extra revenues to avoid the commodity price trap. Their sights have been increasingly set on a new revenue stream – Services – which will grow from $108 billion to $124 billion in the space of 10 years, with all the growth coming from data services.

The firm also predicts that the Satcom industry is on the springboard of a period of accelerated change created by the introduction of disruptive Non-Geostationary Orbit Satellites (NGSO).

However, COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have not spared the Fixed-Satellite Service (FSS) industry, with supply chain issues due to microprocessor shortages and manufacturing bottlenecks leading to a significant number of satellites being delayed. The global inflation crisis has also pushed up satellite prices, most visibly impacting NGSO constellations like Telesat’s Lightspeed, which was forced to downsize.

We give special recognition to Alice Gorman on her efforts with her Dr Space Junk series and this issue her guest is Elizabeth Weeks. Elizabeth is Research Operations Manager at SmartSatCRC, a consortium of universities and other research organisations, partnered with industry that has been funded by the Australian Government to develop know-how and technologies in advanced telecommunications and IoT connectivity, intelligent satellite systems and Earth observation next generation data services.

Also, in this edition we cover the international space sector, with coverage of the IAC, space sector in Scotland, UK and Asia. The UK is on the cusp of becoming the first country to launch a rocket into orbit from European soil, expected to launch before the end of 2022. The UK space industry is growing constantly, now with 1,200 companies and 47,000 direct employees and counting. Innovation is a driving force in the UK, with an estimated £836 million spent on space related R&D in 2019/20, equivalent to 5% of total industry income.

Finally, a thought-provoking article from Dr Chris Flaherty on the role of space in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, relates directly to that of Dr Malcolm Davis of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute who writes on the newly elected Albanese Government’s Defence Strategic Review (DSR), set to be formally released in March 2023. The space domain is now an operational domain, and likely, has become a warfighting domain. It is no longer simply an enabling adjunct to traditional air, sea and land domains, and the DSR is the perfect opportunity to clarify this nation’s direction in space for defence and national security.

As always, we again cover the full diversity of the Australian and international space industry and there is so much more to touch on. Enjoy the reading, watching and listening.

Chris Cubbage CISA, GAICD

Executive Editor