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UNSW CANBERRA SPACE AUSTRALIA’S TRUSTED INNOVATION PARTNER FOR INTELLIGENT SPACE SYSTEMS. Best known to date as Australia’s largest and leading space research and education team, UNSW Canberra Space has some 50 space engineers, scientists, educators and thinkers, end to end in-house spacecraft, space technology and space mission capability, multiple satellites in orbit or under development, and a long list of space research, innovation and engagement activities. Yet space is just an enabler, a (very inspirational) means to an end. Our real focus is on that end, and so UNSW Canberra Space continues to transform and grow. We are combining space technologies with the disruption of artificial intelligence, developing space systems for developing and delivering actionable information rapidly and directly to the user, to help meet challenges and opportunities on the ground.

World class end-to-end space mission capability Artificial intelligence and space research to meet user needs Australian National Concurrent Design Facility – open for business! Space engineering and space operations education Leading the world’s largest space research conference, COSPAR 2020 in National Science Week 2020 in Sydney (

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MONASH ENGINEERS THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIA’S SPACE INDUSTRY. At Monash University, we’re giving students the chance to pioneer new space technologies before they even graduate. Bright, talented and motivated, our students are already taking their place in Australia’s strengthening industry as competitors on the world stage, with the talent and desire to stay right at the forefront of Australian space innovation. With our thriving culture of student design teams, including the Nova Rover Team and Monash High Powered Rocketry, Monash Engineering offers a pipeline straight into the newest generation of passionate space industry professionals in the making. Nova Rover Team vice-lead Iain Hammond said, “Two of our graduate team members are now already working full-time building rockets. We’re applying our skills to space technology projects before even stepping foot into agencies like NASA or the new Australian Space Agency.” “Growing up in Australia, so many of us believed we would never get to be part of a space industry – that building rockets and rovers were for other people in other countries,” said Monash High Powered Rocketry lead Meaghan Munro. “Now, not only can we see ourselves playing a role in the Australian space industry, but contributing to space technological development internationally.” Monash Engineering has supported and championed the students all the way. “We proposed the idea of the Nova Rover Team while operating out of a garage with nothing but a dream,” said Iain. “Monash gave us a workshop, tools, funding, and the skills and knowledge we needed to be successful on an international level.” “We’re ready to step into the workforce as the space industry pioneers of the future – this is and will always be the primary mission of our team,” added Meaghan. “We’re very fortunate to have Monash’s support, as without them, our work as a team wouldn’t be possible.” Through Monash Engineering’s new Co-operative Education Program, space industry employers now have the opportunity to access our engineering talent pipeline through paid 3, 6 or 12 month internships. “Our students are already demonstrating their potential to drive space industry innovation at the highest level, as shown by our Nova Rover Team’s international top 10 placing in the 2019 Mars Society University Rover Challenge,” said Dean of Engineering Professor Elizabeth Croft. “We warmly invite Australia’s space industry to partner with us to develop Australia’s future space industry workforce.” Partner with Monash Engineering to access the future generation of space industry professionals.





APOLLO 11.................................... 64 50 YEARS ON: AUSTRALIA’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE MOON LANDING Many Australians are aware of the role Australia played in capturing the first moon landing on television, but most do not know that Australia played, and still plays, a wider role in the US space program. THE GROWING IMPORTANCE....... 70 OF SPACE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS Fifty years since Australia celebrated its role in landing humans on the lunar surface, the country is playing an important and growing role in tracking objects in space.

CONTENTS INTERVIEW WITH........................... 15 ANTHONY MURFETT Deputy Head, Australian Space Agency.

THE BUSINESS OF SPACE.............. 28 Space is big business around the world, and Australia is starting to play catch-up.

It is no surprise who is Australia’s biggest spender on space technology and services.

ENGAGEMENT:.............................. 22 ‘WE DON’T LIMIT OUR VISION’ The modern space industry exists within the context of a globalised economy. And like it or not, nations and companies need to engage and collaborate with each other, for mutual benefit.

CRCS SPEARHEAD......................... 34 SPACE RESEARCH Australia’s grand ambition is to triple the size of its space economy by 2030. However, this will not happen without some strategic R&D to underpin and help shape the growth of what is still a small industry by global standards.

SASIC............................................. 39 From a standing start, the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) has built quickly on the state’s long history of rocket- and spacerelated activity.

‘IT’S FULL OF STARS!’.................... 26 How Indigenous Australians view the stars and constellations has helped inspire the logo of the Australian Space Agency. WHERE IN THE UNIVERSE............. 27 IS LOT FOURTEEN? Adelaide now boasts a new hightechnology precinct right in the heart of the city.



CSIRO STRENGTHENS................... 36 ITS HANDHOLD IN SPACE The CSIRO’s expertise will help Australia’s space industry sector achieve the 300% growth target set by the Australian Space Agency. DST PLANS DEFENCE.................... 38 SPACE ‘PIVOT’

SIAA ADVANCES THE CASE........... 44 FOR AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY One body has emerged with the credibility and ambition to be the voice of Australia’s space industry – the Space Industry Association of Australia. NEW AUSTRALIAN......................... 46 TECHNOLOGIES AND PRODUCTS A number of important innovations have recently come out of Australia’s space sector.

NATIONAL SCIENCE........................ 50 WEEK 2019 AND THE SCHOOL THEME ‘DESTINATION MOON: MORE MISSIONS, MORE SCIENCE’ Held on 10-18 August, this year’s National Science Week comprises over 120 events at locations all over Australia. We highlight the events related to space, and also provide the complete calendar of events running throughout Science Week and beyond. ‘Destination Moon: more missions, more science’; is the school theme for National Science Week in 2019. SPACE AGENCY A BOOST............... 60 FOR STEM When the federal government announced the creation of a new national space agency for Australia in September 2017, it was a boost not only for the space industry but for the wider and more general cause of STEM education.

the Moon and Mars and the growth in space and satellite-related services. INTERVIEW WITH........................... 88 DUNCAN BLAKE PhD candidate, law and military uses of outer space, University of Adelaide. RECRUITMENT AND CAREERS:...... 90 WHAT IS A SPACE JOB? The answer is not only an astronaut and we need to empower with information on the opportunities in the space sector so young people can make the right career decisions. INTERVIEW WITH........................... 94 MARK RAMSEY General Manager, Sitael Australia

COMMERCIAL LAUNCH................. 74 OPPORTUNITIES IN AUSTRALIA One of the priorities identified in the Australian Civil Space Strategy released in April was the desire to provide access to space for the country’s emerging space industry by leveraging local commercial launch opportunities.

NEW SPACE: THE........................... 96 OPPORTUNITIES FOR AUSTRALIA Australia’s renaissance in its space sector is part of a wider, global movement called New Space. But what is New Space and what effect is it having on Australia’s developing space industry?

SPACE & DISASTER:....................... 80 HOW SATELLITE SAVES LIVES News of natural disasters is rarely off our newsfeeds. As these climate events become more commonplace, governments are looking to space to help tackle challenges here on Earth.

INTERVIEW WITH......................... 100 CARLEY SCOTT CEO, Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA)

INTERVIEW WITH........................... 84 STEVEN FREELAND Professor of International Law at Western Sydney University. SPACE LAW: GETTING IT............... 86 RIGHT FOR AUSTRALIA Space law is a vital and sometimes overlooked part of the space industry and is becoming even more important with the rapid development of New Space, exciting exploration initiatives to

LESSONS LEARNED FOR THE...... 102 AUSTRALIAN SPACE INDUSTRY FROM THE UK & CANADA Australia can benefit from looking at the recent space activities of both the UK and Canada at industry, government and agency levels. How can Australia compete globally in this highly competitive commercial space sector market and establish itself as a key player? And how does the recent global interest in spaceports affect Australia? INTERVIEW WITH......................... 104 LLOYD DAMP CEO, Southern Launch



The key to new worlds lies here at home.

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A SMART FUTURE FOR AUSTRALIAN SATELLITES The space industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and Australia just made a significant step to catch up with the boom by establishing the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (SmartSat CRC). SmartSat will play a key role in meeting The Australian Space Agency’s goal to increase Australia’s share in the global space market and to triple the size of Australia’s domestic space industry to $12 billion, generating an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030. SmartSat’s goal is to improve communications and environmental protection by developing innovative technologies that will provide Australia with real-time connectivity and monitoring of our nation’s land, sea and oceans. Beneficial applications for satellite and

Headquartered in South Australia, SmartSat is one of the most significant space industry research concentrations in the nation. 84 national and global partners and a $245 million investment will result in a national research powerhouse that will revolutionise the future of Australia’s industries through satellite technologies and analytics. As Australia’s University of Enterprise, UniSA will play a leading role in Australia’s biggest investment in space industry R&D. UniSA wishes to thank and congratulate all of its 84 partners in this nation-building initiative: > 12 GLOBAL CORPORATIONS > 11 AUSTRALIAN COMPANIES > 33 START-UPS > 16 UNIVERSITIES

telecommunications technology are endless,


including precision agriculture, bushfire


management, and search and rescue.

To find out more about the SmartSat CRC and for a full list of partners visit: u n isa .e d u . a u/s m ar t s at c rc

“SmartSat will be a game changer for Australia’s space economy. It shows the huge potential and capacity there is in Australia to make an impact globally by developing leapfrogging technologies in areas where we have some of the best expertise on the planet – AI, advanced communications and remote sensing analytics.” PRO FESSO R ANDY KO RONIOS, DE AN: INDUSTRY AND E NTERPRISE, UNIV E R SITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The Territory is a place where anything is possible

Arnhem Space Centre – Australia’s first commercial space launch facility – Hosting NASA’s 2020 sounding rocket campaign

Alice Springs Balloon Launch Facility – Operational since 1974, servicing NASA, JAXA and CNES

Centre for Appropriate Technology’s Ground Station Facility – GeoScience Australia’s station, part of the Landsat network – Constructing Viasat Inc’s Real-Time Earth commercial ground station

Contact us to find out what’s possible

The Hon Karen Andrews MP

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology What we do in space matters to all of us. Our activities in space directly affect our lives on Earth. Space-based technology isn’t just what we see when we look to the skies, it supports our everyday activities, from communications to education and the essentials of food and water security. The Morrison Government is supporting the development of our domestic space industry to ensure we create the jobs of today and the future, while ensuring growth in emerging sectors of the economy. We are investing in the space industry to help triple the size of the Australian space sector to $12 billion and create up to 20,000 jobs by 2030. This is further evidence of how all Australians will benefit from the space sector. The Coalition established the Australian Space Agency in July 2018 to achieve that goal. Its purpose is to transform and grow our space sector, to open doors for Australian innovators to participate in the global supply chain of the space sector and to capture the hearts and minds of all Australians. The Mission Control facility, to be developed at the Australian Space Agency’s new home in Adelaide, will be a national focal point for space missions in Australia; while the co-located Space Discovery Centre will educate, engage and inspire young Australians. Our investment in space is underpinned by the new 10-year Australian Civil Space Strategy that provides a pathway to ensure the space sector can gain a larger share of the US$350 billion global space economy. Australia was a pioneer in space as early as the 1950s, and we’re renewing that spirit during a year when the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. The Apollo moon program was an enormous feat of ingenuity and collaboration of many nations, which included the support of Australians with expertise in technology, engineering and longdistance communications, and the knowledge built from tracking earlier space missions. The future is full of exciting possibilities, including space tourism and missions with counterpart space agencies, but it needs to be stressed again that our space industry has important and practical impacts on our quality of life. The Morrison Government is proud to support the civil and commercial sectors of the space sector to strengthen our economy and improve the lives of all Australians – both in this generation and beyond.

The Hon Karen Andrews MP

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology

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hen the Mars 2020 Rover lands on the red planet and begins its exploration for signs of past life, Dr David Flannery from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) will be part of the team operating one of its instruments remotely back here on Earth. Dr Flannery joined QUT’s Science and Engineering Faculty as a research fellow to develop capabilities in geology and astrobiology. For almost five years prior he worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California and remains a member of the NASA Mars 2020 Rover Mission Science Team. He is also co-investigator of one of the rover’s exploration instruments – an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer known by its acronym PIXL (Planetary Instrument for Lithochemistry) which will map the elemental composition of Mars rocks in features as small as a grain of sand. Dr Flannery has been working closely with NASA’s Dr Abigail Allwood, QUT’s 2015 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year, who leads the PIXL team. PIXL’s job is to look for signs of ancient microbial life in rocks, applying the techniques and knowledge that Dr Allwood, Dr Flannery and other scientists have gained by studying similarly aged rocks and evidence of microbes on Earth.  The rover is scheduled to land in the geologically rich, 45-kilometre wide Jezero Crater which was once flooded with water – a key prerequisite for life – and has landforms that date back to the earliest phase of Mars’ history several billion years ago. “One of the things we’re hoping to find are macroscopic biosignatures of past life that represent fossilised microbes,” Dr Flannery said. “One of the best known microbial biosignatures are stromatolites, which form when microbes get together in a mat, and typically over long periods of time build up these

larger structures as the mat precipitates minerals, traps bits of sand and cements them together. “So if we saw these stromatolites on Mars we would be really excited. It is a definite possibility because there are elements of that crater lake that could preserve fossils like this.” PIXL is also equipped with a camera to take photos of rocks and soil textures to pinpoint the locations of rock chemistry measurements. Once scientists have identified rock targets of interest, the rover’s drill will collect core samples. These will be stored on Mars’ surface until they can be retrieved by a future space mission. “That is the holy grail,” Dr Flannery said. “To get the samples back to laboratories on Earth and put them under all of the analytical instruments that we have. “Collecting the samples is not as easy a task as it sounds. It is quite an engineering challenge to make sure there is no organic contamination of the samples.”  Dr Flannery recently spent time at JPL with the Mars 2020 Science Team rehearsing operations procedures for the instruments. The rover is due to launch in July next year and to touch down on Mars around February 2021. Dr Flannery said he hopes other QUT academics and students in a range of areas, including robotics and engineering, will get involved with Mars exploration. Applications

are now open for a PhD project working with Dr Flannery that involves studying analogues for Martian biosignatures that are preserved in ancient Earth rocks. He will be continuing his Earth geology research at QUT, having recently published a paper in Geobiology on some of the oldest examples of the sedimentary features known as ooids, which occur in environments dominated by microbes and which can provide another type of evidence for life on early Earth – or Mars. “I studied geology because I like being outdoors and rocks are actually quite interesting,” he said. “I like to tell students that the history of the Earth is written in the book of geology. “If you learn to read it, everywhere you go there is a tremendous wealth of information available to you.” Dr Flannery also hopes to energise Australia’s embryonic space industry. “There is no reason that a developed nation the size of Australia should not be contributing to international space missions. “With the formation of the Australian Space Agency, we are now a step closer to directly participating in solar system exploration.”







he Australian Space Agency was big news when it was announced in September 2017 at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide; it was still big news when it was formed on 1 July 2018 and it remains big news. It is the visible expression of a nation’s aspirations, ambitions and openness to partnerships and collaboration in the fast-growing global space market. Australian Space OUTLOOK spoke to the agency’s Deputy Head, Anthony Murfett, early in 2019.


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The Australian Space Agency is in the four-year start-up phase – this is a crucial period, but at the same time have you begun to look beyond this? The Australian Space Agency was established to transform and grow a globally respected Australian space industry that lifts the broader

economy, and inspires and improves the lives of Australians. Our first year of operations has seen the agency establish our core team, release a Charter (see p.17), secure legislative amendments to the Space Activities Act 1998, forge international partnerships and develop close engagement across industry, government, states and territories across Australia. In April 2019, “Advancing Space”, our Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-28, was released which sets out a 10-year path to guide the growth of Australia’s space sector. The strategy outlines a staged plan to meet the government goal to diversify the economy, triple the size of Australia’s space sector from $3.9 billion to $12 billion and grow an additional 20,000 jobs by 2030. It is built on four Strategic Space Pillars: • International – open the door for Australian innovation • National – develop national capability in areas of competitive advantage • Responsible – ensure safety and national interest are addressed • Inspire – grow the next generation of a space workforce It also outlines seven National Civil Space Priority Areas to guide activities under the Strategic Space Pillars. As signalled in the strategy, to realise the growth potential of the

space sector, focus and a sustained, nationally coordinated effort is required – along with maintaining a long-term vision for the sector. To truly be successful, it will also be important to outline how space supports Australians everyday, Whether it be through finding our way to the next meeting following the little blue dot or supporting farmers manage their herds and crops through positioning data. This is where we see huge potential for growth. The agency was established to provide this national focus, and to create and sustain the conditions necessary to grow Australia’s space sector. So what do you see as the opportunities in the Australian space sector? Australia’s space sector touches virtually every sector of the Australian economy. The Australian Civil Space Strategy sets out seven National Civil Space Priorities that build on Australia’s areas of strength and address our challenges. The first is positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) infrastructure: PNT systems are critical for the Australian economy and everyday lives. They are used by individuals on their smartphones, farmers reducing cost and waste, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service landing in remote areas, through to improving safety on

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construction and mining sites. The Australian Government is investing $224.9 million through Geoscience Australia to make reliable positioning data accurate to 10cm available across every corner of Australia, our marine jurisdiction and our airspace. Areas with mobile (cellular) coverage will have access to precise positioning data accurate to 3cm. Second is Earth observation (EO) services: EO from space has the potential to grow Australia’s economy through applications such as improved infrastructure and agriculture monitoring, water management, rapid natural disaster identification, monitoring shipping routes and minerals detection. Australia has a competitive advantage in understanding end-user needs, as well as in calibration and application




of satellite data. In addition, Australia’s large geographic scale is particularly well suited to deployment of networks of sensors, connecting our territory through the Internet of Things (IoT). Third is communications technologies and services. We all know about satellite communications and TV; Australia can be at the cutting-edge of new satellite-focused technologies, such as lasers for optical communications. In addition, our geographic location and size make us an attractive location for ground stations, providing communications for a full range of space systems from cubesat constellations in low Earth orbit (LEO) to deep space communications for NASA and ESA. The fourth is space situational awareness (SSA) and debris monitoring. This is really important:

the growth in the use of space, particularly LEO, has increased the importance of maintaining an awareness of objects circling Earth. Collisions also pose significant risk to assets and life. Australia’s southern hemisphere location, the expanse of Australian land and low light contamination make this an ideal location for space debris tracking. Fifth is leapfrog R&D. Through areas such as astronomy, optical research, quantum technologies and data science, Australia has a strong research base in space. We will continue to highlight Australia’s fields of excellence and our world-class university system, and identify areas to develop technology and applications in emerging fields. This will include highlighting opportunities both in early stage

R&D and in technologies that are closer to commercialisation. Australia also has capability in a wide range of areas relevant to space, which could provide new customers for our industries. For example, precision health and remote medicine expertise can be applied to astronauts and space tourists, while experience with manufacturing, 3D printing and high-tech materials is relevant to manufacturing in space. Other areas include AI and new rocket technologies. As it becomes more accessible, space simply becomes another place to operate and opportunities around these areas will grow. We will also encourage research projects that inspire the public and encourage young people into STEM careers. The sixth priority is robotics and automation, on Earth and in space. Australia is a world leader in remote asset management in industries such as mining, oil and gas, transport, agriculture and fisheries. In places like the Pilbara and North-West Shelf in Western Australia, work is managed remotely from control rooms thousands of kilometres away in Perth. Australian companies, universities and research agencies are developing some of the world’s best robotics technology and systems for remote operations and exploration. This is an area where we can leverage Australia’s cutting-edge technology and expertise into space applications, providing new customers for existing industries and developing innovative technology that can be used both in space and on Earth. The seventh priority is access to space. There are emerging opportunities for Australia to leverage international space missions and commercial launch activities from Australian territory to support industry



ustralian Space OUTLOOK asked Anthony Murfett how the Australian Space Agency plans to live up to its Charter, released in late 2018. “The agency is responsible for whole-of-government coordination of civil space matters and is the primary source of advice to the Australian Government on civil space policy,” says Murfett. “The role of government as a partner and facilitator in space activities will continue to grow, particularly as we watch the rapid transformation of the space industry into one where companies small, medium and large thrive.” Under this broad mandate, the agency has six primary responsibilities:  Providing advice on national space strategy and policy  Coordinating Australia’s domestic civil space sector  Supporting the growth of Australia’s space industry  Leading international civil space engagement  Administering space activity legislation  Inspiring the Australian community The Charter addresses the agency’s values, and those of the Australian space industry, including integrity, ambition, inclusiveness and entrepreneurial spirit. “One of our primary purposes,” he adds, “is to help connect space with the broader economy, as we expect significant growth through the adoption of space technologies in other areas of the economy. “Our goal is to triple the size of the local space industry to $12 billion, stimulate at least a $1 billion pipeline of inbound capital investment in Australia’s civil space industry sector between 2019 and 2025, and achieve yearonyear growth of the Australian space sector that exceeds 8.5%. The Australian Civil Space Strategy outlines a clear plan to achieve our goals.”

Anthony with Zandria Farrell from the Agency and astronaut Paulo Nespoli






growth. Protecting national safety and meeting our international and national obligations will be critical before domestic launches can occur. What space industry development activities will the agency focus on and which do you think the agency should not try to get involved in? The agency is focused on being a partner and facilitator to grow the sector, while overseeing our obligations as a regulator for space activities. We will frame our activities around the four Strategic Pillars outlined in the Australian Civil Space Strategy. Internationally, we will identify and enable opportunities through international bilateral and multilateral partnerships, and identify and address barriers or impediments to space market participation. Nationally, the agency will focus on market gaps and emerging areas of interest and stimulate commercial investment, giving Australia the first-mover advantage in some new technology areas. We will promote a responsible culture by delivering on our civil international obligations and norms, as well as providing a regulatory framework that enables entrepreneurship while ensuring safety and managing risk. Finally, through the prism of space we will inspire the future workforce by encouraging STEM education and skills development. Importantly, to grow the industry means working with the sector to develop a sustainable space industry, where the industry leads investment. Additionally, we are working with our international partners to identify specific opportunities for Australian businesses. These connections will provide openings for Australian




companies and universities in the materials, telecommunications, manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI), medicines, sensors and health, and biotech sectors to plug into the fantastic opportunities associated with supplying commercial products and services to orbital and planetary missions (including human spaceflight and exploration).

“The Australian Space Agency is an industry-focused space agency and will be unique compared to other larger established international agencies. It is important to share this with our stakeholders so the community understands our role and purpose.” Lastly, we will continue to show how space technologies can support other areas of the economy. From using satellite data to help manage drought, positioning technology to manage herds and satellite communications to monitor infrastructure spread across large properties. It is clear that no country can sustain a viable space eco-system on its own; does the agency have any views on which countries or companies would make the best medium- and long-term partners for Australia? Space has the capacity to bring the world together. The agency is partnering with international space agencies, global and local companies, large and small. We’re mindful, however, that we need to prioritise our activities so we can deliver on our purpose.

Our focus is underpinned by the Australian Civil Space Strategy and the accompanying National Civil Space Priority areas, and shaped by our purpose. The priorities build on Australia’s areas of strength (our competitive advantage to support activities in other countries) and address our challenges. As outlined in the strategy, this means we’re currently focused on countries including the UK, Canada, France, UAE, US, Japan and of course the European Space Agency. Our broader engagement is supported through the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), and other multilateral fora like the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF). How important is the agency’s visibility, both domestically within the Australian government and space community, and on the world stage? The visibility and awareness of the agency is hugely important. We want to stand out among the international space community and also be recognised nationally among the broader community, which is why we established our own identity to represent Australia to the world. The agency attends major national and international conferences and space symposiums to ensure our seat at the table with counterpart agencies. Our Head of Agency Dr Megan Clark AC and I are consistently in the media, both in Australia and internationally, sharing the purpose and responsibilities of the agency. The agency is an industry-focused space agency and will be unique compared to other larger established international agencies. It is important to share this with our stakeholders so

the community understands our role and purpose. As we’ve highlighted earlier, our competitive advantages currently reside in our location in the southern hemisphere (for example the vast number of ground stations), our ingenuity in processing data from satellites, observing Earth, tracking objects in space, and emerging areas such as quantum technologies, new propulsion technologies and sensors. We’re building on this great capability and we’ve been overwhelmed by the support from around the globe. To support Australia’s future space industry we also want to inspire the next generation and ensure that the workforce is equipped with the necessary skills and children are engaged in STEM education. We

do this by engaging in activities that aren’t necessarily industry focused such as the World Science Festival, Avalon Airshow public days and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. How do you see Australia’s space business relationships evolving? We’re at an exciting time in the industry. The space sector is no longer restricted to governments; it is becoming a fastgrowing and fiercely commercial sector, driven by falling costs of launch and rapid technology development. This means the time is right for Australia to leverage its competitive advantages. Space will also support other areas of

Mission to the 99s 99km altitude target 30kg payload Capacity Lift off from the Australian outback 20/12/2019

the economy. All Australian market sectors get direct or spill-over benefits from spaceenabled services and practical applications of space capabilities, including finance, agriculture, mining, health and tourism. Importantly, Australia has a range of competitive advantages that can support the growing space economy. We have amazing companies, from those working in robotics that can support activities in space, AI that will support satellite activities, and new rocket technology. Australia is primed to be a great contributor and we want to tell that story and get the next generation involved. In 10 years, we want to look back and show tangible results on how Australia has made an impact in space. n

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OUR NEXT FRONTIER. With the arrival of the Australian Space Agency, RMIT is responding to the growing demand for new space capabilities for Australian industry including Telecommunications, Aerospace and Defence. RMIT’s Sir Lawrence Wackett Centre, along with the Satellite Positioning for Atmosphere, Climate and Environment (SPACE) Research Centre, create a powerful alliance; delivering trusted technologies, policy and business solutions, expert advice and workforce skills development. Through our commitment to industry best practice, transdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships, RMIT is supporting the growth of Australia’s high-tech economy. We have expertise in every stage of product development; from concept design and testing to policy and implementation, making us the partner of choice. The calibre and diversity of this expertise attracts researchers, designers, manufacturers, policy makers and business people from Government and industry, as well as students from around the world who undertake fellowships, higher education studies and internships with us. But that’s just the beginning. In 2020, we are proud to launch our new Bachelor of Space Science - a program that is the first of its kind in Australia. To find out more about how RMIT is shaping Australia’s future and helping to grow industry visit


By Professor Michelle Gee, Director of the Sir Lawrence Wackett Centre, and Associate Professor Suelynn Choy, Director of the Satellite Positioning for Atmosphere, Climate and Environment (SPACE) Centre at RMIT University


here has never been a more exciting time in the Australian aerospace and defence industries with unprecedented government investment into industry growth and the creation of the Australian Space Agency. Aerospace technologies play an important role in areas including transport, climate, disaster management and communications. Into the future, these technologies will be used to make our cities smarter by controlling traffic, helping to keep public transport safe and on time, and allowing us to navigate our way around more accurately. Several key ingredients are required to support the growth of these industries. These include a solid understanding of sector needs, priorities and ways of working, flexibility

to meet those needs, mutual trust, commitment to excellence, strong networks of expertise and the facilities to deliver. RMIT University has a longstanding and trusted relationship with aerospace and defence industries due to our ability to deliver new capabilities for industry and relevant programs for upskilling the workforce. In recent decades, RMIT has been at the forefront of rapid technological development and has remained responsive to the changing needs of the aerospace and defence industries. We have expertise in every stage of product development, from concept, design and testing through to policy and implementation. The calibre and diversity of this expertise attracts researchers and students from around the world who undertake fellowships, higher education studies and internships with us. RMIT has just been named Geospatial Research Institute of the Year for 2019 by the Geospatial World Forum while our industry-led research into 3D printed steel tools for aerospace manufacturers won a top

innovation prize at this year’s Australian International Airshow. Our student rocket team recently won Thunda Down Under by successfully launching a rocket to over 30,000 feet. But our capability goes much further. RMIT’s work in the Satellite Positioning for Atmosphere, Climate and Environment (SPACE) Research Centre includes high-level and highimpact research in the field of space science, with partnerships across internationally and nationally renowned organisations, industry and government. But all this expertise amounts to little unless it can be brought together in a way that works for industry. RMIT’s Sir Lawrence Wackett Centre (SLWC), named after the celebrated Australian aviation pioneer, brings together aerospace and defence research from across the university. The centre is vertically integrated across RMIT, allowing us to be more responsive, agile and adaptable to industry and research needs. With the arrival of the Australian Space Agency, RMIT’s SLWC and SPACE Research Centre have responded to the growing demand for new space technologies. We are proud to announce the launch of our new Bachelor of Space Science program in 2020, a program unique in Australia. Space is a US$345 billion global industry which has doubled in the last decade. The Australian Space Agency was created in 2018, spawning a new era of growth and innovation. We will continue our commitment to supporting Australian economic growth and the jobs of the future, through our proud legacy of industry partnerships to develop new capabilities and build the workforce of the future.





IAC Bremen 2018 with other international space agency heads.


‘WE DON’T LIMIT OUR VISION’ The modern space industry exists within the context of a globalised economy. And like it or not, nations and companies need to engage and collaborate with each other, for mutual benefit. By Gregor Ferguson.


s in aerospace, defence and artificial intelligence, no single company – no single country – has all the knowledge, expertise and resources required to achieve ambitious goals. Therefore, nations and companies need to engage and collaborate with each other.



That is the bottom line for the Australian Space Agency. Its aspiration is to see the Australian space industry triple in size to $12 billion a year by 2030, to grow another 20,000 jobs and to create a $1 billion inward capital investment pipeline. To achieve all this will demand national and international engagement by Australia’s space community, spearheaded and facilitated by the government through the Australian Space Agency. Official acknowledgement of government’s role in facilitating these relationships has come in “Advancing Space”, the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-28. In her Executive Summary, the agency’s CEO Dr Megan Clark said, “The Strategy lays the foundation for Australia to participate in joint missions with international partners and multilateral fora.

“We don’t limit our vision in the Australian Space Agency and we are looking in the long term around how we participate in joint missions. We do need to work with other countries in partnership and we’re working on those partnerships right now.” Engagement is an essential part of the implementation plan for the strategy, which has three principal phases: Phase 1 – ‘Set Conditions’ runs from 2018-19; Phase 2 – ‘Engage With Opportunity’ runs from 2019-20; and Phase 3 – ‘Deliver Success’ runs from 2021-28. Phase 1 is nearly finished, with international engagement goals met: strategic agreements have been signed with a number of overseas space agencies. Phase 2 will see more international agreements signed in the US, Europe, Japan and New Zealand and with other agencies across the

Indo Asia Pacific region. They will pave the way for Australia to participate in joint international space activities and missions through Phase 3. These international MoUs and industry partnership agreements facilitate Australian industry participation in multinational space activities, on the one hand; and they help Australian companies become more competitive and productive partners in both international and national space-related activities, on the other. Most of the growth envisaged by the agency will be achieved largely by expansion of Australia’s civil space sector. Defence spending on space will rise steadily, but the civil sector’s enhanced access to national and international space opportunities means that its growth trajectory will be more spectacular. Dr Clark’s Deputy Head, Anthony Murfett, spoke to Australian Space OUTLOOK about how the agency’s engagement on both nationwide and international levels showcases how it is getting on with the business of space. Why is international and industry engagement so important? The global space economy is worth about US$350 billion. Through working with international space agencies and industry and identifying opportunities around the world, the agency will help Australian businesses win a greater share of the global space market. We’ll look at future missions and determine if Australia can be involved, for example plugging our great expertise into gaps in international projects. By working with international agencies, the Australian Space Agency has the opportunity to support missions as part of a global effort. What does this engagement enable that may not have been possible before? Is this a direct result of the

creation of the agency; is the very existence of the agency opening doors that were previously closed? The response to the establishment of the Australian Space Agency has been overwhelmingly positive. We now have a seat at the global table, and these international links will open up unprecedented opportunities for Australia’s domestic space sector that have not previously existed – in turn stimulating business growth and job creation. International partnership agreements – which have you signed so far? So far, the Australian Space Agency has signed memoranda of understanding with four international space agencies: CNES (France), UKSA (United Kingdom), CSA (Canada) and UAE SA (United Arab Emirates). We’re also working with the United States and organisations like the European Space Agency to explore collaboration opportunities. Why are they important? What do they enable that we couldn’t achieve before? A key activity of the Australian Space Agency is to open doors internationally to support the growth of our industry. Partnering arrangements enabled through memoranda of understanding will increase opportunities to work together and share information, technology and personnel between our nations. They represent a significant step in Australia’s journey with fellow spacefaring nations and will help us to deliver on our purpose to grow and transform a globally respected Australian space industry, impact the broader economy and inspire and improve the lives of all Australians. These opportunities may include Australian space companies working with global space agencies and



t was the growth potential of Australia’s space sector and the compatibility of its product and technology base that attracted Italian firm SITAEL, which is why the Australian subsidiary was set up in 2018 at the University of South Australia’s Mawson Lakes campus, says SITAEL Australia General Manager Mark Ramsey. SITAEL has particular strength designing and building satellites in the 50-300kg class, as well as complex payloads. These satellites are big enough to embody significant EO, communications and other capabilities and are very cost-effective compared to large geostationary satellites. The company is a proud member of the SmartSat CRC, he adds: it is contributing financially, bringing its technology base in both satellite and payload design and looking to invest in local R&D, design and manufacture. Ramsey is also a Board member of the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA). At present, Australian industry is using multiple cubesat programs both to pursue market opportunities and develop its strength in designing, building, launching and managing satellites and payloads. But some payloads need a bigger satellite; the industry is on the cusp of designing and building these locally and SITAEL Australia has positioned itself for future opportunities. In 2017 it signed a Letter of Intent with Inovor Technologies to jointly develop nano, micro and mini satellites as well as ground stations. The SmartSat CRC will spin out lots of technology over the next 5-7 years, Ramsey tells Australian Space OUTLOOK, potentially including satellite design, construction and launch. SITAEL can offer its CRC partners expertise based on long experience of building satellites and aggregating and integrating multiple payloads.







Additionally, there is already great capability across Australia, with many Australian companies working on cutting-edge space technology and research. Partnering with international space agencies provides access to world-class Australian space companies, as well as allowing Australian companies access to the global space market. Which other countries’ space agencies do you expect to sign with in the future?

“We now have a seat at the global table, and these international links will open up unprecedented opportunities for Australia’s domestic space sector that have not previously existed – in turn stimulating business growth and job creation.” organisations, or competing or bidding to be part of international missions. They may also include supplying materials, telecommunications, manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI), medicines, sensors and health, and biotech sectors to plug into orbital and planetary missions (including human spaceflight and exploration). So what value do we provide in return? Australia has a range of globally competitive advantages. This includes our geographical advantage with a unique view into the galaxy, which supports areas such as communications technologies and space situational awareness (SSA). We also have great capabilities in other parts of the economy, for example:  Remote asset management (using automation and robotics to control objects from afar), which can be adopted in space



 Geoscience Australia is building infrastructure to make GPS data accurate to 10cm across Australia and 3cm in areas with mobile coverage  Digital Earth Australia (DEA), which gives everyone from government organisations to businesses and town planners to farmers, free access to 30 years of satellite imagery of the Australian continent  Precision health and remote medicine expertise can be applied to astronauts and space tourists, while experience with manufacturing, 3D printing and high-tech materials is relevant to manufacturing in space  There is also the potential to leverage international space missions and commercial launch activities from Australian territory to support industry growth

We can’t pre-empt what agreements will be signed in the future. However, we’re working with a range of space agencies in addition to those where we have an MoU, including NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). Importantly, we’re very mindful that as a new agency we have to prioritise our activities so we don’t over-commit ourselves. Statements of strategic intent and cooperation – what have you signed so far? We have signed seven statements of strategic intent and cooperation with companies both in Australia and internationally, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Nova Systems, Goonhilly (UK), Sitael (Italy) and Woodside Energy. Why are these so important? And how do you select industry partners for these agreements? One of our purposes is to help connect space with the broader economy, as we expect significant growth in other areas of the economy through the adoption of space technologies. These statements by industry partners, large and small, are designed to highlight areas of investment and growth for Australia’s unique potential in space research and development and commercial applications. They

are not about the agency selecting industry partners. Their intention is for an industry organisation to highlight areas of investment and growth in Australia’s space sector. These statements share areas of strategic interest and growth, including potential new areas of collaboration and support for education and training to ensure a pipeline of thriving space engineers, leaders and entrepreneurs. Importantly, they are available for any space business (small, medium and large) looking to invest in Australia’s space industry to highlight where these opportunities exist. What do they and we get out of them? They highlight Australia’s space industry and showcase the work in Australia. They show priorities and strategic direction, as well as how they plan to grow the wider industry. These statements allow the Australian Space Agency to further understand the work of these organisations in a national and international context, and to have a broader knowledge of the capabilities of Australia’s space sector. Aside from formal partnership and industry agreements, what other forms do national and international engagement take? The agency attends international events such as the International Astronautical Congress, Space Symposium and Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum. Through these we are able to share our priorities with space agencies, government bodies, private companies, universities and research institutes alike. We also contribute to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), and had a resolution passed by US House of Representatives in 2018 commending the establishment of the Australian Space Agency and supporting deeper cooperation. n



ockheed Martin Australia Space Systems is one of Australia’s major space industry players, albeit in a number of classified projects that conceal the true size of its footprint here. The company employs more than 130 staff in Australia, says managing director Rod Drury, with a turnover commensurate with that size of workforce. Lockheed Martin Australia’s commitment to its local presence, incountry leadership and decision-making and significant local R&D, along with the fact it generates significant revenue and pays taxes here, is a key discriminator he tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. Lockheed Martin Australia has five key civil projects underway. Its Uralla, NSW, telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) facility supports global customers by controlling satellites through launch, transfer into geostationary orbit and commissioning. The company, teamed with the University of Melbourne under an Australian Research Council (ARC) program, is also part of a global consortium building a new GeoCarb orbital sensor to enable high-resolution measurement of natural exchanges of carbon between the land, atmosphere and ocean. Lockheed Martin is building and demonstrating the second generation satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS – see p.35) with GeoScience Australia. This will, for the first time, use signals from both the GPS and Galileo constellation, and dual frequencies, to achieve even greater integrity and accuracy from the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and higher precision for end users. Space situational awareness (SSA) is a vital capability for Lockheed Martin, says Drury. It has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Canberrabased Electro Optic Systems to develop a network of optical and laser SSA

sensors; much of this work is being conducted at Uralla also. And the company is a key member of the Space Environment Research Centre (SERC – see p.35) at Mount Stromlo. SERC is building on Australian expertise in the measurement, monitoring, analysis and management of space debris to prevent the loss of space infrastructure due to collisions between debris and satellites, says Drury. As well as contributing governance, management and subject matter expertise, Lockheed Martin is also loaning a 10kw laser to support this R&D activity. Importantly, Lockheed Martin Australia Space Systems is not a ‘fly-in, fly out’ company, says Drury. This is evidenced by its commitment to supporting the Australian Space Agency, SERC and Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA), as well as ventures such as the National Youth Science Forum and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC) at Melbourne’s Strathmore College. Most importantly, space is a key focus of STELaRLab, the company’s Science Technology Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory in Melbourne, which is Lockheed Martin’s first-ever multi-disciplinary R&D centre outside the US.

Rod Drury and Anthony Murfett







‘IT’S FULL OF STARS!’ How Indigenous Australians view the stars and constellations has helped inspire the logo of the Australian Space Agency. By Gregor Ferguson.


f you were lucky enough to attend the opening ceremony of the 2017 International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, you will not quickly forget how the Yellaka Culture and Dance Group introduced the international audience to Indigenous Australia’s view of the sky. Their performance showed how Australia’s Indigenous peoples made sense of the stars and used familiar constellations to help them both navigate their natural environment and record and codify their long and complex pre-history. It was the astronomy of Australia’s Indigenous peoples that inspired the creation of the Australian Space Agency’s logo. Many people are familiar with the



Western interpretation of constellations and star systems, but the Australian Space Agency logo references a far more ancient celestial topography. It resembles an Aboriginal dot painting at first glance but its symbology is much deeper and more subtle. Every coloured dot in the logo is part of a constellation that can be seen from anywhere in Australia. Most of them are recognised globally, but bear Aboriginal Australian names that reflect the Indigenous peoples’ knowledge of land, sea and sky and the native fauna of Australia. Paul Curnow, a senior ethnoastronomer at the Adelaide Planetarium, advised the Agency and its brand consultants on the choice of constellations employed in the logo. There are eight of them in all, though one, the Southern Cross, is repeated multiple times: to the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains, this is the eagle’s footprint and claw, represented in the logo by five black dots. The Wardaman people from around Katherine in the Northern Territory know this constellation’s fifth brightest star as

Ginan, a name now officially recognised by the International Astronomical Union, and the Southern Cross, with Ginan prominent, appears for a second time in the logo in red. Look at the Southern Cross through the eyes of the Ngarrindjeri people of South Australia: its blue pattern represents a stingray, being pursued by two sharks – the ‘Pointers’ – across the sky. To the Noongar people of Western Australia the Southern Cross represents ‘Women in the Sky’ – four women who had been swept up into the sky; they are represented as four orange dots. Find the dark cloud of dust known as the Coalsack Nebula next to the Southern Cross and you will find the head of the Emu in the Sky, a splash of yellow dots on the logo from beak to toes. Instead of Castor and Pollux, the Boorong people in Victoria saw the hunters Wanjel and Yuree pursuing Purra, the Red Kangaroo, or Capella in the constellation of Auriga; they are represented by three dark grey dots. Find the three stars making up Orion’s belt and you are looking at The Three Brothers with the stars Rigel and Betelgeuse forming the tips of a canoe, the three dark green dots in the logo. Finally, try to find the Pleiades, in the constellation of Taurus. To most Indigenous Australians, these are simply The Seven Sisters, a group of women, light grey dots in the logo, pursued by a man. For 50,000 years, these constellations, named by the peoples who knew them, have illuminated and guided the deeply spiritual nomadic peoples who constitute one of the world’s oldest continuous human culture. They now speak to the world of an Australia with its eyes on the stars, and on the future. n

Acknowledgement – the author acknowledges with thanks the advice and support of Paul Curnow.

WHERE IN THE UNIVERSE IS LOT FOURTEEN? Adelaide now boasts a new high-technology precinct right in the heart of the city. By Gregor Ferguson.


ot Fourteen will be home to both the Australian Space Agency and the $6 million Mission Control Centre announced in March this year. It is a $20 million re-imagining by the South Australian Government of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital, a sevenhectare heritage-listed site adjacent to two of Adelaide’s universities on the city’s central North Terrace. The Lot Fourteen creativity and innovation centre will include a new Innovation hub building as part of 23,500m2 of office and workshop space for space, biotech, defence and creative industries entrepreneurs and start-ups. The Australian Space Agency will go into the top floor of Lot Fourteen’s McEwen Building on North Terrace, probably in the last quarter of 2019, along with a CSIRO office and the SmartSat CRC (see p.34). Below them, on the first floor, will be high-tech firm Myriota and on the ground floor the Mission Control Centre. Another

building less than 100 metres away houses the office and workshop of space start-up Inovor Technologies. Other science and technology facilities located there will include the Australian Centre for Machine Learning and a Space Discovery Centre, teamed with the Questacon science discovery centre in Canberra.

"It will be a common user facility which makes space access even more affordable for SMEs and start-ups that would otherwise need to invest in space communications and command and control systems of their own." “Lot Fourteen provides a strong base from which the Agency can work nationally to grow and transform the Australian space industry,” says Deputy Head Anthony Murfett. “This will provide proximity to a vibrant

community of space-related start-ups, links to the local defence industry and a landmark position in the centre of Adelaide alongside both the Mission Control facility and the Space Discovery Centre.” The Mission Control Centre will support space operations by Australian companies. It will provide facilities to control small satellite missions, enabling real-time control and testing and the accelerated development of Australian satellite technology, she says. It will be a common user facility that makes space access even more affordable for SMEs and start-ups that would otherwise need to invest in space communications and command and control systems of their own, says Australian Space Agency CEO Dr Megan Clark. “A Mission Control Centre that can be used by small and medium sized enterprises means that they can get there faster and they can use a shared facility. When they grow up to be a larger company they’ll probably want their own, but this allows them to get moving quickly,” she says. The $6 million Space Discovery Centre at Lot Fourteen will provide STEM education, engagement and inspiration for young Australians, as well as activities such as mission simulation and training for tertiary education. “We want the public to be able to see this,” says Dr Clark. “As we plan joint missions with other agencies, we will also use Mission Control here to connect to and receive live feed from those missions. We want the public to be able to see actively what our scientists, what our teams are doing, to be able to witness it first hand and see what jobs are like in the space industry. And they’ll be able to do that as we connect Mission Control through the Discovery Centre.” n







Agency was formed on 1 July 2018. In 2016 Bill Barrett of Asia-Pacific Aerospace Consultants (APAC) conducted an influential review of Australia’s space capabilities for the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. He said then that globally commercial space revenues alone had achieved a compound annual growth rate of 13.7%, outstripping the growth rate of the Chinese economy. And that picture has not changed, he tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. The big changes in a country’s space economy occur when commercial

"Australia has long been seen, both domestically and internationally, as merely a passive consumer, buying satellite and space services from others but not generating these resources itself."

THE BUSINESS OF SPACE Space is big business around the world, and Australia is starting to play catch-up. By Gregor Ferguson.


ccording to the Australian Space Agency’s ‘Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028’, the national space economy is worth about $3.9 billion a year and accounts for about 10,000 jobs. The Australian Space Agency’s goal is to facilitate a tripling of that by 2030: to around $12 billion



a year and 30,000 jobs. It anticipates annualised growth of roughly 7.1% a year until 2024, at a time when the national economy is expected to grow at about 2.7% a year. For context, the Australian Space Agency states the global space economy currently turns over some US$350 billion a year and that will grow to around US$1.1 trillion by 2040. According to the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA), Australia’s share of that global space economy is about 0.8%; however, Australia accounts for about 1.8% of the word’s total economy, so its space sector is clearly underperforming, the SIAA warns.

That under-performance is not due to a lack of opportunities, nor a lack of demand, states the SIAA in its 2017 White Paper ‘Advancing Australia in Space’. Few countries, it says, are better suited to exploiting space technologies, enjoying some world-class infrastructure and R&D capabilities. But Australia has long been seen, both domestically and internationally, as merely a passive consumer, buying satellite and space services from others but not generating these resources itself. The White Paper’s call for wholeof-government support and national leadership to tackle this shortfall was answered when the Australian Space

demand for space-enabled services outstrips government demand. That inflection point occurred globally in about 1998; from 80:20 government to commercial expenditure in 1973, it reached 50:50 in 1998 and is about 80:20 commercial to government today, globally. In Australia, however, it is still around 80:20 government to commercial: Australia’s civil space economy has not begun its growth spurt – yet. AUSTRALIA’S SPACE ECONOMY Australia has a significant space economy, nonetheless: $3.9 billion a year counts, he says. It is an important financial basis on which to build a sustainable space eco-system within Australia. And like Nicola Sasanelli, Director of the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC), Barrett believes the most influential players in the growing space economy will

include the ‘downstream’ users of space and space-enabled services: position, navigation and timing (PNT – think GPS); telecommunications; the agricultural, transport and financial sectors, even satellite TV. And think of the equipment manufacturers and installers: a humble Foxtel TV dish installer is part of the space economy, too, as is a farmer irrigating his crops using satellite data to guide him. Barrett identifies nine broad sectors making up the space economy: space systems – satellites and their payloads; launchers, to put them into space; ground stations to control and communicate with them; space-enabled services such as PNT, Earth observation (EO) and even satellite TV networks; space support services, such as technology consultancies and law firms; the R&D sector; the education and training sectors; the industry associations such as the SIAA, APAC and the National Space Innovation Hub (NSIH), and embracing specialist media and even bodies such as museums; and others – which, says Barrett, include human exploration of space, health (including in-orbit manufacture of crystalline drugs), inorbit fabrication of things like silicon wafers for integrated circuits and even things like off-Earth mining. However, the majority of companies and other institutions involved in space are in the space-enabled sector, not directly the space launch and space vehicle sectors, a point emphasised by both Barrett and Sasanelli of SASIC. The trouble is, not enough people and companies understand that they are de facto players in the space economy, Sasanelli tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. His organisation’s role is to help grow a space ecosystem in South Australia based around both direct space-related activities and those other activities



ne of the benefits from the creation of the Australian Space Agency is the national and global perception that Australia is now open for space business. The Deputy Head of the Agency, Anthony Murfett, explains to Australian Space OUTLOOK what this means. “The space economy is growing rapidly, which presents a range of opportunities for Australia,” says Murfett. “The Australian Space Agency is addressing one of the primary issues – opening doors internationally. Some other areas Australia will need to focus on include accelerating our capability and capacity to enter international supply chains, and technology development so we can exploit future opportunities such as international missions. This includes achieving internationally recognised certifications and qualifications, for example quality or technical certification of hardware or processes to meet the stresses of launch or the space environment. “It will be necessary to create industry scale and focus to demonstrate Australia can play a significant role in the growing space economy, for example by focusing on areas of competitive advantage,” he adds. “Encouraging further investment in Australia’s capabilities and businesses is important. For example, as a growing market limited information is currently available to support investment decisions.” Other challenges and opportunities are outlined in the Australian Civil Space Strategy, he tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. One of these includes amending Australia’s Space Activities Act of 1998 to achieve a much better balance of responsible risk management, on the one hand, and flexibility to enable faster decisionmaking and approvals, on the other.







and services that are enabled by assured access to space. South Australia is a microcosm of the bigger national picture and the challenge faced by policy makers in the emerging space economy, and SASIC was the first state-based organisation of its kind to address these challenges; it has since been joined by the other states. Australia’s current space economy balance of 80:20 defence to civil reflects its relative youth compared with better-developed space economies elsewhere. Most of that government spending is accounted for by the Department of Defence, and one of SASIC’s roles is to facilitate the cultural change in the commercial marketplace that will alter that balance radically. About 1.4 million companies and businesses in Australia could be stronger and more

competitive if they made better use of the capabilities and services that are enabled by – even dependent upon – our space activities, Sasanelli tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. SPACE-ENABLED SERVICES FOR THE MASS MARKET For Barrett of APAC, that awareness

by both consumers and ‘wholesalers’ is critical. “This trend of providing space-enabled services to the mass market has been the major driver of the commercial space industry over the past 15 years,” the APAC Review states. Barrett sees a natural movement of business – and money – into any new domain: “The big thing that has changed in space is it has moved into the consumer sector, and the market has changed dramatically,” he tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. The SIAA draws telling lessons from Canada and the United Kingdom: according to a 2014 report the latter, especially, has achieved a 300-400% direct return on each pound invested in membership of the European Space Agency, a 200-400% return on each pound invested in EO; and a 600-700%

direct return on each pound invested in telecommunications. Downstream spillover affects more than double these returns in most cases. That is a massive boost to industry growth and the national economy and is indicative of what Australia could expect, given sufficient investment by government and the private sector. And note also: most of the UK returns are from spaceenabled business activities. Australia can be part of this trend, says Sasanelli. “If we can work with potential end-users of space services and technology we can then stimulate the upstream providers and help them grow – for example, Fleet Aerospace, Myriota, Inovor Technologies,” he tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. The key is cultural change and the wider embrace of collaboration

“Space is not just about launching rockets: it creates new jobs, new technologies and new industries to benefit all sectors and our society as a whole.” and cooperation, according to Aria Colton, Director of the private sector National Space Innovation Hub (NSIH). She believes Australia’s anticipated space industry growth spurt will not happen without innovation and closer collaboration between end-users, industry and the research and academic sectors, and that means focusing as much on the downstream users as the direct space players. “Space is not just about launching rockets: it creates new jobs, new technologies and new industries to benefit all sectors and our society as a whole. The National Space Innovation Hub is focused on creating,

capturing and adding value through the socioeconomic benefits that come from space innovation, which are interwoven into the fabric of our society,” she tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. Australia has made a start, says Sasanelli. The 2019-20 budget allocated $48 million this year for space industry development, with another $18 million or so for space infrastructure. It is still a drop in the ocean compared with the £400 million available for space industry development in the UK and the EUR1 billion that is available in Italy, EUR2 billion in Germany and EUR2.5 billion in France, for example. But it is an important start. n

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Whatever your passion—aeronautics, astrophysics or mathematics, computer science, engineering or machine learning—there’s no better place to launch or advance your space career than the University of Adelaide. The first Australian-born professional astronaut to enter space studied here. So did the European Space Agency’s current flight controller for the International Space Station, and the German Aerospace Centre’s Combustion Dynamics Group head.* Ready to follow in their footsteps?

Step aboard in 2020 To explore the career orbits we can send you into, and the degrees that can get you there— from bachelors to masters and PhDs—visit:

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* Dr Andy Thomas, BEng(Mech), PhD(Mech Eng), Andrea Boyd, BEng(Mecht) and Dr Justin Hardi, BSci, BEng(Aero), PhD(Prop. Eng) respectively. ^ QS World University Rankings by Academic Subjects, 2019. † Excellence in Research for Australia, 2018. Our long history of space-related R&D includes key contributions to: global high-energy astrophysics initiatives, such as IceCube and the Pierre Auger Observatory; LIGO’s discovery of gravitational waves; and the world’s authoritative text on military and security law as it applies to space.


hen Star Trek: Voyager first hit TV screens in the mid-90s, a young Andrea Boyd watched wideeyed at home in South Australia as the crew’s chief engineer solved every challenge space threw at her. “I’m going to do that one day,” she said. In 2012, when she became the International Space Station’s Europebased flight controller, that day came. Still there seven years on, it is without question her dream job. When astronauts need to communicate with International Space Station (ISS) mission control at the European Space Agency (ESA) in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, it is Andrea Boyd who takes their call – liaising between them, the flight director and all involved European science and engineering teams. “I’m Europe’s voice in space,” she quips, “just with a very Adelaidean accent.”

Like many kids, Boyd was fascinated by space from an early age. What set her apart was her determination to become someone the ISS could not turn away. ANDREA BOYD’S TOP TIPS FOR BUILDING A SPACE CAREER

Follow your passion  If it’s science or engineering, great. But they’re not your only options. You could become a flight surgeon, space law specialist, or something else entirely. Show more  Consider volunteering in spacerelated roles, get involved in clubs, travel, learn languages – even playing sports can show you’re a team player. Network  Engage with people already doing the work. Attend events, do work experience – don’t be afraid to go up and say, ‘Hey, I want to be you in the future!’

In addition to completing a bachelor degree in mechatronic engineering at the University of Adelaide – which also counts among its alumni Dr Andy Thomas, the first Australianborn professional astronaut in space – she took up every space-related volunteering role she could find. “I travelled all over the world,” Boyd says. “I met many space scientists and engineers along the way, which constantly reinforced that my career aspirations could become reality. “I also picked up many languages, which has been a big advantage.” The ISS was always Boyd’s ultimate target – so much so that she visited its headquarters while still studying at Adelaide to plead her case for a graduate position once she had received her parchment. The answer at that stage was no; she would need professional experience behind her. But she was undeterred. “After graduating I was employed at a brilliant Adelaide company working in control systems engineering and automation all over the country. Then I was posted as a mining control systems engineer at BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine in South Australia.” After around five years, Boyd took her shot. “I applied for the ISS position, quit my job and bought a one-way ticket. Upon arrival I did a lot of preparation for my interviews, and to my continuing delight I was successful. “Now I get the privilege of watching up to 16 sunrises and sunsets from space every single day through the ISS’s external cameras. And they’re absolutely incredible.”

To learn more about the spacerelated careers the University of Adelaide can prepare you for, visit





CRCS SPEARHEAD SPACE RESEARCH Australia’s grand ambition is to triple the size of its space economy by 2030. However, this will not happen without some strategic R&D to underpin and help shape the growth of what is still a small industry by global standards. By Gregor Ferguson.


wo Australian cooperative research centres (CRCs) will help reach the goal to triple the Australian space economy by 2030. One of them was announced as recently as April 2019 – the much-anticipated SmartSat CRC, which begins operations on 1 July and will focus on three key areas identified by industry through a rigorous consultation



process: enabling advanced communications; the development of intelligent satellite systems, sensors and technologies; and next generation earth observation data services.


The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science has committed $55 million to the SmartSat CRC, on

top of the $190 million-worth of cash and in-kind contributions from the CRC’s 84 industry and research partners from around the world. They include Australian start-ups such as Fleet and QuintessenceLabs, global heavyweights such as Airbus, Thales and Northrop Grumman, and the cream of Australian and overseas university and R&D players, including University College London, Macquarie University in Sydney and the CRC’s two anchors, the University of South Australia (UniSA) and Nova Systems. The SmartSat CRC’s Chair is Dr Peter Woodgate, former CEO of the CRC for Spatial Industries, now a fully commercial entity named Frontier SI and a partner in the new CRC. The CRC will be located at

Adelaide’s new Lot Fourteen precinct, says its CEO, UniSA Professor Andy Koronios. However, it will have physical nodes in almost all of Australia’s states and territories in order to be physically close to the growing space eco-systems in those states. Its mantra, he tells Australian Space OUTLOOK, is “Building Australia’s Space Industry”, and its focus is on start-ups as much as on mature companies. He wants to focus on what he terms “leap-frogging technologies”, avoiding duplicating the work being done by others. Radio communications is a given; optical communications, using laser technology, offers 100 times the data throughput available today – Australia’s low cloud cover makes this a genuine prospect, along with hybrid radio-optical communications when the weather dictates. Quantum key distribution for secure distribution of encryption keys is on the R&D menu, as is quantum sensing, using “stealthy” quantum radars with a very low signal to noise ratio, says Professor Koronios. Longer-term, he sees Australia developing its own constellation of Earth observation (EO) and surveillance satellites: they will be Australianowned, a first, with enhanced performance due in part to on-board analytical processing of EO data. Importantly, the SmartSat CRC has industry at its heart, he says. The CRC will help create a new business model for the space industry, based on the biggest-ever investment in Australian space industry collaboration. The CRC’s key education and training goals are to assist in graduating 73 PhD students, and build the pipeline of school, undergraduate and vocational education students, and assist with the development of the skills required to succeed. The CRC will seek to advance gender and diversity equity in STEMrelated industries by inspiring women

and Indigenous Australians to pursue careers in space.


The challenges of putting a new constellation of satellites into space are addressed by Australia’s other big R&D centre, the CRC for Space Environment Management, which has been operating since 2014. Run by the Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) at the Mt Stromlo Observatory in Canberra, its focus is space situational awareness (SSA) – optically tracking and identifying the thousands of pieces of ‘space junk’ as well as satellites and other space vehicles in orbit around the earth.

"There are thousands of items in orbit already and thousands more likely to go into orbit over the next decade. Risks need to be controlled and mitigated to enable greater commercialisation of and enhanced access to space." The risk of a collision with one of these orbiting bodies, and the potential consequences – especially if a manned space ship is involved – are high enough to scare both regulators and major space players. As plans mature to fill the skies with constellations of relatively small satellites in low Earth orbit, the likelihood of such a collision rises. Therefore, so does the importance of tools to identify and track orbiting entities, predict their orbits more accurately with fewer false warnings and, where necessary, shift them out of a potential collision course. SERC has four overlapping research programs, the CEO David Ball tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. They focus on: Identification of Space Objects and Preservation of the Space

Environment – identifying and tracking space objects; Orbit Determination and Predicting Behaviours of Space Objects – essentially, enhancing the accuracy and reliability of orbit predictions; Space Asset Management – essentially, developing a space traffic management system based on very accurate conjunction and threat warning capabilities; and the Space Segment, which is developing some of the essential technologies and techniques to shift the orbit of space debris using ground-based lasers. According to Dr Sarah Pearce, Deputy Head of CSIRO Space and Astronomy, there are thousands of items in orbit already and thousands more likely to go into orbit over the next decade. SSA is important because risks need to be controlled and mitigated to enable greater commercialisation of and enhanced access to space. It is also an opportunity area for Australia because many of SERC’s Australian partners – such as EOS Space Systems Limited, RMIT University, the Australian National University (which owns the Mt Stromlo Observatory), Lockheed Martin, NICT Japan and Optus – are world-leading players in SSA, or have a significant stake in improved SSA. Indeed, EOS Space Systems is a world leader, having exported some $400 million-worth of SSA and related technologies and services. Its founder, Dr Ben Greene, was the original CEO of SERC and is now a board member. As the need for SSA grows worldwide, Australia’s growing expertise will become more valuable. That is the value of Australia’s CRC program: it is industryled and therefore designed to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of Australian companies – particularly SMEs and especially where they have a competitive advantage. The SERC and SmartSat CRC play to Australia’s strengths in a market that can reward niche excellence. n







CSIRO STRENGTHENS ITS HANDHOLD IN SPACE The CSIRO’s expertise will help Australia’s space industry sector achieve the 300% growth target set by the Australian Space Agency. By Gregor Ferguson.


hat ‘I’ in its name sets the CSIRO, or Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, apart from most other Australian research establishments.

The CSIRO’s expertise will help Australia’s space industry sector achieve the 300% growth target set by the Australian Space Agency, according to Dr Sarah Pearce, Deputy Director of CSIRO Astronomy and Space. However, it is not just CSIRO’s expertise in space technology specifically that will make the difference, she says. The end-users of space technology – the socalled ‘space-enabled’ businesses – will benefit and their demand will drive space industry growth. CSIRO’s 28-page 2018 Space Roadmap is designed to help Australian industry identify the emerging technology and business opportunities open to them.

It highlights industry opportunities across domains such as space exploration and utilisation, Earth observation (EO), space situational awareness, satellite communications, PNT, and enablers such as building space-essential infrastructure, high-performance computing, enhanced artificial intelligence and data analytics, and advanced manufacturing. The Roadmap also identifies six trends driving global space industry growth which Australia needs to embrace, including technology transformation in the space domain itself, and downstream developments where end-user innovation is increasing demand for space-enabled capabilities. So, what advantages does Australia, and specifically CSIRO, bring to the table? Dr Pearce believes there are several: Australia’s very strong university and R&D sectors, essential for industry growth; and its expertise in remote asset management, built on the country’s mining sector – whole mines and transport networks are now being operated remotely from city suburbs, rather than by men and women on the ground in a frequently harsh, hot and dusty environment; ironically, the links that enable this are often satellite links. The other term for this is robotics and that is something, she says, that Australia can apply to emerging sectors such as space operations and off-Earth mining. CSIRO’s partnership with NASA stretches back more than 50 years via research projects and management of the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex and is supported by a shared ambition to push the boundaries of exploration to benefit life back on Earth. CSIRO’s recent appointment as operational manager of the European Space Agency’s deep space tracking station at New Norcia, 130km north-east of Perth, is further testament to the agency’s world-class space tracking and communication capabilities.

"It is not just CSIRO’s expertise in space technology specifically that will make the difference. The end-users of space technology – the so-called ‘spaceenabled’ businesses – will benefit and their demand will drive space industry growth."

a portal to the organisation’s globally acknowledged expertise in EO and especially in data modelling and analytics. Established in June 2018, the CCEO already has an agreement in place with GeoScience Australia for satellite calibration and validation under the latter’s Digital Earth Australia program. In March 2019, Australia signed the international treaty triggering construction of the Square Kilometre Array, or SKA – a next generation radio telescope and the world’s biggest scientific instrument. One of its two antenna sites, SKA Low, will be at the Murchison Radio-Astronomy Observatory in Western Australia. This will consist of 132,000 – no misprint – low frequency antennas across a 65km baseline. n

CSIRO SPECIALIST FACILITIES To help harness these advantages, CSIRO owns 10% of the tasking and acquisition time on the NovaSAR satellite, launched in 2018. Built by UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, this has an S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar which enables high-resolution monitoring of cyclones, floods, crops and things like biomass and soil moisture; and improved infrastructure and agricultural mapping, day and night and regardless of cloud cover. This is the first time Australia has actually owned the rights to task a satellite, as opposed to simply exploiting satellite data on almost a retail basis. The new CSIRO Centre for Earth Observation (CCEO) will coordinate all of CSIRO’s EO activities and act as










It is no surprise who is Australia’s biggest spender on space technology and services. By Gregor Ferguson.


he 2016 Defence White Paper called for enhanced space capabilities and expenditure of more than $10 billion over the next 20 years in new or upgraded Defence space capabilities. The focus is on communications, surveillance and situational awareness, and position, navigation and timing (PNT). At the Australian Space Industry Conference held to coincide with Avalon 2019, Andrew Seedhouse, head of DST’s National Security and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Division, set out some of Defence’s and DST’s priorities. Defence’s space strategy is still under development, and the associated supporting DST 10-year S&T strategy



for Space will explore alternatives to being principally a customer for space-based communications and surveillance services. DST will research the technologies and capabilities in ‘smart space’ to provide future options for Defence to be a world-class operator of complex, secure, end-to-end space systems. The first step is to build up Defence’s practical experience of designing, launching and managing satellites and payloads. Defence’s Buccaneer cubesat program helps provide that experience. Designed by DST and the University of NSW at ADFA, the 10 x 10 x 34 cm Buccaneer 1 cubesat was launched into low Earth orbit (LEO) in 2017. Its mission is risk reduction: building expertise within Defence and validating a couple of key DST and UNSW technologies, including new antenna deployment and asymmetric stabilisation techniques. Buccaneer 1 has met all of its objectives, says Seedhouse. Buccaneer 2, to be launched in 2021, will include a high frequency (HF) receiver to research calibration of

ADF’s JORN over the horizon radar, which bounces radio signals off the ionosphere to detect airborne and maritime targets 3,000 kilometres away. It will also incorporate a laser optical communications payload that is inherently more secure than a radio link. Future optical links will likely employ Quantum encryption – one of DST’s 10 technology priorities – to achieve still higher levels of security. The rapidly falling cost of building and launching small satellites is redefining ‘high performance’. Technology advances so rapidly that orbital payloads such as secure communications, sensors and on-board processing systems become obsolete quickly. But if satellites are cheap enough then regular replacement is an option – this is the new ‘high performance’ paradigm. A big, very expensive satellite that needs to stay aloft for years to generate a return on investment may be obsolete long before its life expires, making it a ‘low performance’ asset, says Seedhouse. He expects satellite and launch costs to fall to the point where they become ‘commoditised’. That means it is smarter to invest in smart, agile payloads rather than satellites and launchers: payloads such as multi-function antennas that enable a single space platform to perform multiple tasks using different wavebands, for example. On-board processing of surveillance and EO data saves scarce bandwidth and transmitter power required for downloading terabytes of raw data for terrestrial processing. The processed data is far less bandwidth-intensive. DST’s 10-year S&T strategy will demonstrate in successive exemplar missions how Defence can achieve ‘smart space’ and become a world leader in the niche capabilities that matter most, Seedhouse tells Australian Space OUTLOOK: sensing, communications, PNT and intelligent processing. n


From a standing start, the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) has built quickly on the state’s long history of rocket- and space-related activity. By Gregor Ferguson.


uch of the South Australian Space Industry Centre’s (SASIC) growth has focused on the Woomera range complex in South Australia’s mid-north. SASIC had its genesis at the 2015 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Jerusalem, when the governing body, the International Astronautical Federation, endorsed SA’s capital, Adelaide, as the venue for IAC 2017. To help capitalise on this, Nicola Sasanelli was appointed head of a new SA Space Office in 2016 by the then-Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill, and the Office published its first Action Plan that same year. It has been updated since with bilateral support from new Premier Steve Marshall and outlines three strategic

pillars on which to build the state’s space economy: growing the state’s economy through space activity; invigorating SA’s innovation eco-system; and engaging at government level with major international players. It also included seven actions, all of which remain works in progress. Among these were developing a South Australian space capability directory to help all of the players and stakeholders identify and understand the other industry or research players. This was crucial, Sasanelli tells Australian Space OUTLOOK – it feeds the first item in the Action Plan: “increasing awareness of the space sector as an innovative area to invest and collaborate.” Like CSIRO, says Sasanelli, SASIC recognises that to grow the space sector

means growing down-stream demand from space-enabled businesses, many of whom do not recognise fully that they are part of the wider space industry. Their dependence upon space access and space-based technology makes them part of this ecosystem, he tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. So one of SASIC’s key challenges is communications and advocacy in this sector. Another is STEM at both secondary and tertiary levels (see p.60). IAC 2017 saw the announcement of the South Australian Space Innovation Fund. This will invest $4 million over four years to promote entrepreneurship in space, “to promote the culture to overcome the lack of coordination of space in Australia and the lack of awareness. The aim is to stimulate and facilitate, not to fund space activity directly”, says Sasanelli. To achieve this, SASIC called a tender to create a space business incubator. Some 14 organisations responded, including all three of SA’s major universities. SASIC chose the University of South Australia’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre to host the incubator and this completed its first six-month course, with five participating companies, in March. The incubator is based at Lot Fourteen’s McEwen Building on Adelaide’s North Terrace (see p.27) – the same place as the Australian Space Agency and “a fantastic place to create an incubator”, says Sasanelli. The role of SASIC and the incubator is to create the tools that companies can use to leverage themselves, and a business environment and culture that enables them to grow. SASIC filled a perceived policy vacuum in 2016, but its original strategy has changed. It now collaborates with the Australian Space Agency, which has a national responsibility, to grow the space economy and space industry in South Australia. n



The ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs, and Their Applications (CUAVA) is: • training workers for sustainable Australian, advanced manufacturing, space and UAV industries of national importance;


• fundamentally changing the capabilities and applications instruments A N Dof TCubeSats, H E I R UAVs, A P Pand L I their C AT I O N S (including

those for larger satellites) for Earth observations, and T R A I N GPS, I N Gsatellite C E Ncommunications, T R E F O R C U space B E Sweather A T S , purposes; A R C and U A V s, A N D T H E I R A P P L I C A T I O N S • evolving these devices to create major commercial value with wide applications across these and other areas.

Our economy, security, and society increasingly on access to space data and A skilled is required to develop the Australian Our economy, security, and societyrely increasingly relyfor onvital access toservices. space for vitalworkforce data and services. A skilled workforce is required Industry and capitalise on global opportunities. CubeSats are a new class of small satellites, which with UAVs are disrupting the international satellite toSpace develop the Australian Space Industry and capitalise on global opportunities. CubeSats are a new class of small satellites, which CUAVA of 11value, partners from national and international Universities, Government labs, and market, areisofcomprised great commercial and have very low costs. with UAVs are disrupting the international satellite market, are of great commercial value, and have very low costs. Industry. We will be launching 1 CubeSat and conducting 1 UAV campaign per year for 5 years. The ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs, and Their Applications (CUAVA) is:

The• training ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs, and Their Applications (CUAVA) is: workers for sustainable Australian, advanced manufacturing, space and UAV industries of national  Training workers for sustainable Australian, advancedAustralian manufacturing, space and UAV industries of importance; CUAVA is working to cultivate a world-class space industry in CubeSats and UAVs and national importance; related products. • fundamentally changing the capabilities and applications of CubeSats, UAVs, and their instruments (including

 Fundamentally changing the capabilities of CubeSats, their those for larger satellites) for Earth observations,and GPS,applications satellite communications, andUAVs, space and weather purposes; instruments (including those for larger satellites) for Earth observations, GPS, satellite and communications, and space weather purposes; and AIM 1: SYSTEMS

• evolving these devices to create major commercial value with wide applications across these and other areas.

To fundamentally change the accessibility and functionality of CubeSats by developing  Evolving these devices to create major commercial value with wide applications across these and advanced, commercialised, plasma thruster, Gigabit/s communication, and snap-together CUAVAareas. is comprised of 11 partners from national and international Universities, Government labs, and other CubeSat Industry. We will be launching 1 CubeSat and conducting 1 UAV campaign per year for 5 years. systems.

CUAVA is comprised of 11 partners from national and international Universities, Government labs, and Industry. We will be launching 1 CubeSat and conducting 1 UAV campaign perINSTRUMENTS year for 5 years. AIM 2:

CUAVA is working to cultivate a world-class Australian space industry in CubeSats and UAVs and To develop novel, miniature, related products.

world-leading imagers for satellites and UAVs, especially

imagers CUAVA is working to cultivate a world-class Australian space industry hyperspectral in CubeSats and UAVsbased on advanced photonic approaches, and variable spacecraft drag devices that enable major advances in Earth observations and characterisation of Earth’s and related products. time-varying AIM 1: SYSTEMS

space environment.

AIM 1: SYSTEMS To fundamentally change the accessibility and functionality of CubeSats by developing

advanced, commercialised, plasmaand thruster, Gigabit/s communication, and snap-together To fundamentally change the accessibility functionality of CubeSats by developing advanced, AIM 3: PRODUCTS CubeSat systems. commercialised, plasma thruster, Gigabit/s communication, and snap-together CubeSat systems. To apply the new systems and instruments and our existing GPS expertise on CubeSats and

UAVs to answer important research questions, develop new eData / mining algorithms, and AIM 2: INSTRUMENTS AIM 2: INSTRUMENTS

To develop novel,provide miniature, world-leading for satellites UAVs, especially powerful new imagers commercialisable data and products that address crucial aspects of To develop novel, miniature, world-leading imagers for satellites andand UAVs, especially hyperspectral imagers hyperspectral imagers based on advanced photonic approaches, and variable drag coastal, marine, agriculture, forestry,drag mining, andspacecraft terrestrial and space weather based on advanced photonic approaches, and variable spacecraft devices that enable major advances in applications. devices that enable major advances in Earth observations and characterisation of Earth’s Earth observations and characterisation of Earth’s time-varying space environment. time-varying space environment.

We are searching for exceptional PhD students and Collaborators to work on Centre projects AIM 3: PRODUCTS starting in 2019. AIM 3: PRODUCTS

To apply the new systems and instruments and ourand existing GPS GPS expertise onon CubeSats To apply the new systems and instruments our existing expertise CubeSats and and UAVs to answer important develop new eData / mining algorithms, and provide UAVs research to answer questions, important research questions, develop new eData / mining algorithms, and powerful new This is an exciting opportunity to be part of an emergent Australian Space Industry! provide powerful new commercialisable data and products that aspects of commercialisable data and products that address crucial aspects ofaddress coastal,crucial marine, agriculture, forestry, coastal, marine, agriculture, forestry, mining, and terrestrial and space weather applications. mining, and terrestrial and space weather applications.

Visit for more information.

We are for exceptional PhD students and Collaborators to work Centre projects projects starting in 2019. We are searching forsearching exceptional PhD students and Collaborators to work ononCentre starting in 2019.

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of an emergent Australian Space Industry! This is an exciting opportunity to be part of an emergent Australian Space Industry!






AND SUPPORTING SPACE SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH By Iver Cairns, Professor of Space Physics at University of Sydney, and Director of CUAVA


ustralia has a long history in scientific space research and in space industry, yet the Australian Space Agency is only a year old and the domestic space industry and space science community are small and need help. The ARC Training Centre for CubeSats, UAVs and Their Applications (CUAVA) is addressing this problem by training the people that will drive the Australian space industry forward.

AN AUSTRALIAN SPACE ECOSYSTEM Developing a product or service completely in-house is often not an efficient option in the current market. Rather than buying internationally, Australian space companies need to buy from and collaborate with each other. This increases the capabilities and resilience of the ecosystem and enhances Australian products available to global supply chains. A ‘Buy Australian’ policy is needed to supercharge Australia’s space ecosystem.

RESEARCH IS KEY A continuing pipeline of state-of-theart products and services is necessary for a company to develop and then remain sustainable and competitive in its markets. This pipeline requires continual, well-funded research and development. A sustainable, innovative, globally competitive Australian space industry needs a dedicated Australian space research capability. This requires that Government and industry fund research in space science, engineering and related fields, with strong engagement from universities and the public. OUR APPROACH CUAVA is developing the necessary human capital, technical capabilities and commercial products to grow a world-class Australian industry in cubesats, UAVs and related instruments. We are training the next generation of specialised Australian workers in cutting-edge advanced manufacturing, satellite and UAV technology, science, engineering, Earth applications, entrepreneurship and commercialisation. We are addressing

key deficiencies in communications, propulsion and imaging capabilities, allowing us to produce novel data, instruments and services for crucial Earth observation (coastal health, agriculture and minerals), GPS (seastate) and space weather applications. Our training program is innovative and rigorous, consisting of two courses, a start-up/entrepreneurship experience, one flight experience and a thesis research project. One course is in the student's area of expertise (e.g. advanced robotics, remote sensing or space physics) and one in business, management or law. The start-up/entrepreneurship experience is a one-semester Sydney University course which involves the student being part of a 4-6 person team that identifies and develops a technological, commercialisable solution to a significant space problem and then pitches it to a start-up incubator/accelerator – both previous courses have led to at least one student team winning a place at an incubator. The flight experience will be a joint student team project with our partner universities or CUAVA’s annual UAV or cubesat flight teams. Each flight experience will involve project design, build, integration, test and operational work. Students graduating from the centre will be well-rounded and ideally prepared for working in industry with strong research and problem-solving skills. The Centre’s trained students, postdocs, CIs, PIs and partner organisations are expected to develop into global players in space-related research, industry, data and services.







What an exciting time to be part of the Australian Space Industry…. Now more than ever before are significant interest, both domestically and What an exciting time to bewe part ofexperiencing the Australian Space Industry…. internationally, in all aspects of our expanding space industry and our various, innovative What an exciting time to be part of the Australian Space Industry…. Now more than ever before we are experiencing significant interest, both domestically and capabilities and solutions. internationally, all aspects of our expanding space industry and ourboth various, innovative Now more than in ever before we are experiencing significant interest, domestically and This interest was first sparked by the very successful SIAA-hosted International capabilities and solutions. internationally, in all aspects of our expanding space industry and our various, innovative Astronautical Congress in September 2017 which put the Australian Space Industry on the capabilities and solutions. This interest was first sparked by thebyvery SIAA-hosted International global stage, was further motivated the successful establishment of the Australian Space Agency in Astronautical Congress in September 2017 which put the Australian Space Industry This interest first sparked by the successful International July 2018 andwas truly realised earlier thisvery year, with the SIAA-hosted support for and success of theon the global stage, was furtherinmotivated by2017 the establishment of the Australian Space Agency Astronautical Congress September which put the Australian Space Industry on thein inaugural SIAA Australian Space Industry Conference. July 2018 and truly realised earlier this year, with the support for and success of the global stage, was further motivated by the establishment of the Australian Space Agency in Importantly, this interest is underpinned by awith significant number planned in inaugural SIAA Australian Space Industry Conference. July 2018 and truly realised earlier this year, the support for of and successinvestments of the space-based and space-enabled capabilities and services. However, the ability of our inaugural SIAA Australian Space Industry Conference. Importantly, this interest is underpinned by a significant number of planned investments in industry to deliver and sustain these initiatives depends on our nation’s capability to space-based and space-enabled services.number However, the ability of our Importantly, this interest is underpinned by aand significant of planned investments in research, develop, educate, skill capabilities and deploy our innovative workforce. industry to deliver and sustain these initiatives depends on our nation’s capability to space-based and space-enabled capabilities and services. However, the ability of our Critical totodevelop, the SIAA’s success in these promoting and the space industry research, educate, skill and initiatives deploy ourgrowing innovative workforce. industry deliver and sustain depends on Australian our nation’s capability to is our ability to engage and maintain ongoing with theworkforce. broader Australian community research, develop, educate, skillanand deploydialogue our innovative Critical to the SIAA’s success in promoting and growing the For Australian spacethe industry our from which the current and emerging workforce will grow. this reason, SIAA isisvery ability to engage and maintain an ongoing dialogue with the broader Australian community Critical successpartner in promoting and growing theGroup Australian space industry is our pleasedto tothe be SIAA’s a publication with Faircount Media and their new flagship from which the current and emerging workforce willwith grow. this reason, the SIAA is very ability to engage and maintain an ongoing dialogue theFor broader Australian community publication, Australian Space OUTLOOK. pleased to be with Faircount Media andreason, their new from which thea publication current andpartner emerging workforce will grow.Group For this the flagship SIAA is very We trust the read is as interesting as our journey…. publication, Australian Space OUTLOOK. pleased to be a publication partner with Faircount Media Group and their new flagship publication, Australian Space OUTLOOK. Rodtrust Drury, We theCSC read is as interesting as our journey…. Chairtrust the read is as interesting as our journey…. We Rod Drury, CSC Chair Rod Drury, CSCAssociation of Australia Space Industry Chair, Space Industry Association of Australia Phone: 0477 787 388, Space Industry Association of Australia Phone: 0477 787 388, Phone: 0477 787 388

Space Industry Association of Australia Limited ACN 613 961 005 Space Industry Association of Australia Limited ACN 613 961 005 Space Association of Australia Limited ACN 613 961 005 Phone:Industry 0477 787 388

PO Box 1220 GOLDEN GROVE VILLAGE SA 5125 Australia PO Box 1220 GOLDEN GROVE VILLAGE SA 5125 PO Box 1220 Australia GOLDEN GROVE VILLAGE SA 5125 Australia






One body has emerged with the credibility and ambition to be the voice of Australia’s space industry – the Space Industry Association of Australia. By Gregor Ferguson.


he establishment of the Australian Space Agency has focused national attention on space industry opportunities. But realising that potential will be the job of hundreds, and one day thousands, of large and small Australian companies. While they are all different, they have common interests and concerns and one body has emerged with the credibility and



ambition to be the voice of Australia’s space industry. The Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) launched its new website on 4 May (‘May the 4th be with you’) as part of a re-launch designed to make it the country’s premier space industry body, says its Chairman, Rod Drury. The SIAA’s new logo and website reflect the association’s goals and aspirations on behalf of the sector. The SIAA’s goal is to grow Australia’s space industry, and its goals mirror those of the Australian Space Agency which wants to see the industry treble in size, from about $4 billion a year today to around $12 billion by 2030; that will result in an additional 20,000 jobs, sectoral compound annual growth that exceeds 8.5%, and a $1 billion pipeline of inbound capital investment in Australia’s civil space sector.

reliable access to space. They will account for much of the sector’s growth, both directly and by stimulating the growth of ‘upstream’ space-directed goods and services such as launchers, satellite builders and sensor manufacturers.


The SIAA’s own 2017 White Paper, ‘Advancing Australia in Space’, noted that outside the US more than 50% of the world’s space expenditure is in the Asia-Pacific region. It also pointed to the experience of Canada and the United Kingdom whose relatively recent creation of a national space agency has resulted in an economic growth spurt with a three- or four-fold multiplier from each pound or dollar invested in space activity. But managing and sustaining high levels of growth still represents a formidable challenge to the industry. It is the SIAA’s role to help, Drury tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. He emphasises the importance of engaging the broader space-enabled sector: ‘downstream’ companies like banks, airlines and telcos – even farmers and fishermen – who simply could not run a modern, efficient business without

To help shape the space industry’s growth trajectory, and to provide a credible voice on behalf of the sector, the SIAA has developed a new strategic plan, Drury tells Australian Space OUTLOOK. One of its goals is to become a nationally recognised entity. Until about 2017 the SIAA, with around 150 members, was a small group dependent on the industry volunteers who made up its Board; it reflected the industry – small, enthusiastic, but lacking in resources, especially money. Nevertheless, it produced an enormous amount of quality work on behalf of the industry as a whole, especially in relation to government policy and regulatory initiatives. Things changed when the SIAA geared up to organise the highly successful 2017 International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide. The challenge of organising this event, and the prospect of rapid growth in the civil space industry afterwards, made professionalisation inevitable. The SIAA in 2019 appointed its first full-time operations manager, Sherri Dawson, and enhanced its corporate governance so that it is properly representative of a highly diverse industry membership and better able to network with aligned industry and learned bodies such as the Defence Teaming Centre, AIDN and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS). A key goal is to become the authoritative voice of the space industry: that means greater media engagement as well as the production and promotion of key industry position papers and effective engagement with state and federal bodies, including the Australian Space Agency. Growing the SIAA’s

membership is another priority: currently around 250, the membership will grow on the back of a visible benefits package, says Drury: industry advocacy, networking and information sharing, and facilitating collaboration, both nationally and internationally. Increased membership will help the SIAA become more financially sustainable. This will also help all of the SIAA’s other aims. These include a longstanding grants program and further diversification at all levels: geographic, gender, generational and across market sectors. Regular renewal of both the SIAA Board and its advisory council will help ensure diversity and fresh eyes on

"Downstream companies will account for much of the sector’s growth, both directly and by stimulating the growth of ‘upstream’ space-directed goods and services such as launchers, satellite builders and sensor manufacturers." emerging issues and challenges. The SIAA’s aim is, by 2022 to be nationally (and globally) recognised as the representative and the voice of Australia’s space industry sector. From this platform, the SIAA wants to help the industry identify and pursue national and global space business opportunities, says Drury.


The International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide in 2017 opened the eyes of both the space industry and the wider community to the space-related opportunities available to Australians. That community engagement is important, Drury adds, because community awareness will help remind individuals and organisations – even TV satellite dish installers – that they

are part of a wider space economy with new opportunities. And, more importantly, this will create communitywide awareness of educational, training and career opportunities for Australia’s young people. Space is a national endeavour, says Drury, who is the Canberra-based managing director of Lockheed Martin Space. While the Australian Space Agency has a vital coordinating and communications role on behalf of the space sector generally, he wants the SIAA to engage and support the established space industry and research communities in every state and territory. Some of the national and industry benefits resulting from this growth are visible already, says Drury. He cites the Space-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) program with Geoscience Australia that will contribute to significant global navigation satellite system (GNSS – one example is GPS) accuracy enhancement across Australia: from 10 metres to 3 centimetres in areas with mobile phone coverage, or 10 centimetres elsewhere. That will make a huge difference to farmers sowing and irrigating crops, for example, helping the Royal Flying Doctor Service to fly safely to more destinations, and enhancing safety and productivity on mining sites. This will be achieved through a fouryear, $224.9 million project to fund an SBAS for Australia and a new national ground station network. Geoscience Australia estimates that widespread access to more precise positioning technology alone will boost the national economy by between $7.8 billion and $13.7 billion by 2020. This illustrates perfectly the economic multipliers that flow from space investment and how they stimulate industry wide growth. The SIAA’s vision is to encourage, facilitate and speak for an industry sector that is just launching itself on an exciting, long-term trajectory. n







NEW AUSTRALIAN TECHNOLOGIES AND PRODUCTS full-power testing to prove the engine can handle the sustained temperatures during steady-state operations and, more importantly, that the 7kN thrust nozzle is re-usable. Three successful prototype engine runs have also validated NextAero’s thrust predictions. NextAero is now actively working on a 10kN thrust motor that incorporates solid-state thrust vectoring by adjusting the combustion process around the central annulus. Eliminating heavy hydraulic thrust vectoring actuators saves enormous amounts of weight while still enabling precision steering.


A number of important innovations have recently come out of Australia’s space sector. By Gregor Ferguson. NEXTAERO

How do you increase the payload you are putting into orbit by 25%, without increasing rocket motor thrust, and therefore cost? A Melbourne-based startup employing just six PhD students has demonstrated a way to achieve this. NextAero Pty Limited has used additive manufacturing to build an aerospike rocket motor nozzle. The aerospike nozzle



essentially turns the traditional bell-shaped rocket motor nozzle inside out and provides better performance than a traditional nozzle regardless of rocket altitude, and hence atmospheric pressure. This is what provides the 25% payload increase – the ability to deliver greater thrust at lower altitudes than is currently possible, says co-founder and managing director Graham Bell. However, aerospike nozzles need a multitude of internal liquid cooling passages to control temperatures inside the combustion chamber. Until affordable additive manufacturing became a reality, complex aerospike nozzles were a dream. NextAero uses Monash University’s affiliate 3D printing service provider, Amaero Engineering, to manufacture its prototypes. These have undergone

One of the tenants at Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen is start-up Inovor Technologies, which has developed both a novel nanosatellite platform and a unique space situational awareness (SSA) application for it. The platform is dubbed Apogee and Inovor is the only company, to his knowledge, that manufactures satellites in Australia using a purely Australian supply chain, says CEO Matthew Tetlow. The Apogee family is the basis for the company’s Project Hyperion, which aims to put a constellation of them into low Earth orbit (LEO). These will be looking outward, observing the medium and geostationary (MEO and GEO) orbits, home to around 80% of the total capital value of assets currently in space. Their purpose will be to spot potential collisions well in advance and also to watch out for suspicious activity or technical anomalies. The Apogee-based satellites will carry a novel computer vision system developed in collaboration with the Australian Institute for Machine learning, which is a co-tenant at Lot Fourteen. This is able to detect very faint objects from a set of images

using a machine learning algorithm. Also co-located in Lot Fourteen is the Mission Control Centre (see p.27), which Inovor will use, at least initially, to control the Hyperion constellation as well as EO satellites it is manufacturing for CSIRO.


How do you get such a constellation into space? You need a launcher and a launch site. Anticipating significant growth in demand for launch capabilities, Canberrabased Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) is developing a commercial launch facility in the Northern Territory, near Gove in East Arnhem Land. In mid-2017 the company says there were 1,071 active satellites in earth orbit; within five years, this could increase tenfold. So the demand for reliable launchers and reliable and accessible launch sites is growing. Chief technology officer Scott Wallis says that ELA’s initial focus will be on conventional vertical launches into equatorial low Earth orbit (EqLEO). Having a launch site just 12 degrees from the equator makes possible regular, frequent coverage of areas of strategic interest to Australia between 40 degrees north and 40 south; most of the world’s population lives in this band. It also avoids the much greater risk – by a factor of 10 – of colliding with another satellite or a piece of space debris in the more crowded sun synchronous orbits (SSO) that take satellites close to the poles. NASA has already begun planning an experimental launch program with ELA later in 2019 and the European Space Agency (ESA) is also actively considering ELA’s plan. The potential advantages are clear: the Northern Territory is close to established ports, urban and industrial infrastructure, and is unique in the southern hemisphere in combining these advantages so close to the equator.


With so many satellites scheduled to enter

service over the next decade, Western Sydney University (WSU) has developed an SSA imaging system based on how the human eye works. The WSU neuromorphic camera can capture the movement of orbital bodies travelling too fast to be seen by a conventional camera. It uses sensors akin to those in a digital camera, but each sensor is separate from its neighbours and responds only to changes that it detects. The resulting camera, says A/Prof. Greg Cohen of WSU’s International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems, requires less power but detects more difficult targets in real time, and has a higher data rate. This means is can be small and light – perfect for both orbital SSA and EO and surveillance on a cubesat-sized platform. The RAAF is attracted by the fact that the neuromorphic technology works both by day and night and, unlike radar, is not power-hungry; the pixels in WSU’s camera sensors only react when they detect movement, so their power demand is very low. WSU designed and built a demonstrator funded by the RAAF’s Plan Jericho for Avalon 2019. The first set of trials have helped prove the equipment; while further terrestrial trials are planned, says A/Prof. Cohen, WSU is already

designing a neuromorphic sensor that will go into space on a cubesat and talking to potential launch partners.


The SSA issue has stimulated others, too: in March 2019 the US Air Force awarded Sydney-based Saber Astronautics a $2.6 million contract to develop a nextgeneration space operations concept called the ‘Space Cockpit’, funded under the US Government’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. Space Cockpit is a virtual reality space operations centre that enables operators across US services and allied partners to visualise the local space environment, make rapid decisions and manage a large number of space objects. “Space Cockpit makes it easy to control large numbers of satellites in an increasingly busy environment. The number of satellites in orbit is expected to triple in the next 10 years, so this is equally important for military and civilian operators alike,” says CEO Dr Jason Held. Saber Astronautics will be deploying the technology to military customers and providing civilian services to the commercial space sector at the end of 2020. n





n a rapidly evolving world with an insatiable need for faster, more reliable yet affordable connectivity, Thales Alenia Space is one of the leaders in this evolving market. Digital transformation is revolutionising the space industry and associated economy. This profound and fast transformation is impacting our customers’ needs across applications, usages and supply chains within the public and private sectors. Today, there is a worldwide need for ever more affordable and useful capacity delivered anywhere, anytime. Meanwhile, our customers are also demanding new applications to optimise the use of their satellites, more secure systems and cloud-based solutions to share data and improve overall procurement and satellite operations efficiency. Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), is a key European player in space telecommunications, navigation, Earth

observation, science and exploration, orbital infrastructures and space transport. The company also teams up with Telespazio to form the “Space Alliance”, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. For several years, Thales Alenia Space has developed and invested in new skills, new solutions and strategic partnerships to anticipate this transformation.


Every day, the world is becoming more ‘ultra-connected’; the demand for high speed data connectivity is continuously growing, requiring ever more system capacity. Governments – including the Australian Government – fully aware that connecting people is a strong vector of economic growth, are also very focused on solving the digital divide across our diverse geographic area, enabling more cost-effective homogeneous developments. This global trend is

directly applicable to space-based systems which have the unique features to address wireless to thousands of internet users, anywhere within large footprints – at home, at work or even in motion, in particular when flying on board airlines. According to market forecasters, digital throughput is to grow exponentially – more than 10 terabits of traffic through satellites is expected within the next few years. Nevertheless, business uncertainties remain, in particular on traffic localisation and routing and frequency resources to address the connectivity services that are still scarce in certain regions, requiring space-based systems to be properly designed and operated for a successful deployment. To cater for people’s voracious appetite for affordable, faster and better internet, Thales Alenia Space is continually innovating and helping customers quickly adapt to an everchanging market. Increasingly versatile end-to-end system architectures, based on digitalised solutions, are offering many valuable features to our customers. In particular, progressive on-ground infrastructure deployment capabilities to follow traffic ramp-up over the whole service area is now a must, allowing the optimisation of operational and distribution expenditures. To complement satellite capabilities, a suite of ground software solutions is made available for day-to-day efficient and dynamic operations with SpaceOpsTM (mission management) and SpaceGateTM (traffic management) products. These solutions are progressively taking advantage of benefits from new algorithms for predictive and user behaviour analytics, thus closing the loop on endto-end optimisation.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS & 5G Thales Alenia Space is one of the world’s leading designers of telecommunications satellites, platforms and payloads. The telecom segment accounts for half of the company’s business. The company is also the worldwide leader in the fields of telecommunications constellations in low or medium Earth orbit. After the success of the 4G-LTE standard and the associated services, the cellular industry engaged itself in an evolution to combine the benefits of various radio access technologies such as Wi-Fi, mobile cellular below 6 GHz and above 30 GHz to deliver services for a wide range of customers and use cases. The new 5G access network will therefore be in the position to meet the challenging ‘anywhere, anytime, any device, any content’ requirement.


Governments are looking for highly agile solutions, and the combination of high-resolution images coupled with short revisit rates addresses their needs. We are also seeing the increasing miniaturisation of spaceborne equipment, echoing the trend in computers and mobile devices. Thales Alenia Space is a leader in Earth observation, based on its high or very-high resolution optical and radar payloads. The company has established a position as a major supplier in export markets, covering military, dual and civilian missions: intelligence gathering, target designation, mapping, crisis management, meteorology, oceanography, climatology, and more. The company also proposes StratobusTM, a highly innovative multimission autonomous stratospheric platform halfway between a drone and a satellite.

SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION Thales Alenia Space has always been a pivotal partner in Europe’s fantastic missions to the solar system. The

company was prime contractor for Herschel and Planck, the two largest space observatories ever built in Europe. The company also developed and integrated Corot, the French exoplanet hunter, and made 25 parabolic antennas as part of Europe’s contribution to the ALMA program in Chile. Thales Alenia Space played a lead role in the Rosetta-Philae comet landing mission, in particular taking charge of the assembly, integration and testing of the Rosetta probe, as well as Europe’s Bepi-Colombo mission to explore the planet Mercury. We also built, as prime contractor, the Huygens probe in the framework of Cassini-Huygens exploration program. Our next scientific challenge is the European program Euclid, designed to help further our understanding of dark matter.


What if you could change your satellite coverage, frequency and power allocation instantly in-orbit? It is a well-known fact that the commercial satellite communication market is currently undergoing a deep transformation; the future appears more and more about IP connectivity for all services, including high-speed broadband and video for fixed (household and business) and mobile users.  Business models are being reformed to manage the fast-changing conditions and there is an overall need for more agility. Adjusting to these evolutions, Thales Alenia Space has capitalised upon constellations and digital satellite developments and launched the Space Inspire fully digital satellite product line. These software-defined satellites are an ideal response to market changes in a fast-evolving world. Thales Alenia Space now offers fully reconfigurable satellites allowing total mission flexibility (coverage, frequency

and power allocation) to follow business evolutions. Our baseline design offers on-board data routing and switching enabling dynamic optimisation of the capacity to follow user demand to boost revenues. Full band, total flexibility now makes it possible to address the needs of mobile users by projecting capacity at the right time on the right spot, hence improving user experience and maximising revenues. Total bandwidth flexibility also offers very significant new values, with the possibility to progressively adjust ground infrastructure investment to actual demand trend or to protect against jammers. Fully digital satellites change the game for our customers as they enable a progressive shift from video broadcast to IPTV & OTT without changing or affecting the space segment.


The global space industry and market touches virtually every sector of the Australian economy and with the rapid transformation of the sector, the time is right for Australia to collaborate with global a leader like Thales. The evolution of the Australian market segment, the establishment of the Australian Space Agency and continued growth of research in this domain means that connecting with global initiatives becomes key to Australia taking its place in the global space domain. The announcement of the Australian Space Strategy and the Smartsat Cooperative Research Centre, coupled with planned acquisitions of sovereign capabilities in military satellite capabilities and space-based augmentation systems for aviation safety, make Australia an attractive market for global suppliers. Establishing cooperative partnerships now becomes part of Australia’s digital revolution.



Promoting our profession: enriching science teaching

The Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) is the national professional association for teachers of science. It works closely with the state and territory Science Teacher Associations to promote the science teaching profession and enrich science teaching through the delivery of innovative, relevant programs and resources in partnership with a variety of government, industry and business organisations. It is teachers who are crucial to advancing STEM capability. They have a pivotal role in influencing, engaging and inspiring students to STEM careers and, more importantly, to be creative problem solvers and thinkers. Through its commitment to enriching the science teaching profession, ASTA helps builds teacher capacity and skill to directly benefit students. ASTA has a number of flagship activities including the STEM X Academy—a teacher professional learning experience; CONASTA—the annual science educators conference; Science ASSIST—a national online advisory service for school science educators; SPECTRA—a national science award program for Year 1–10 students; the peer-reviewed journal Teaching Science…. and of course National Science Week in schools. In 2019, ASTA celebrates 38 years involvement in what has become the annual celebration of science known as National Science Week. Since 1984, ASTA has provided a resource book of activities for teachers. Each year since then, with support from the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, ASTA has selected a topical theme to help focus school science activities during National Science Week. ASTA is very excited about this year’s National Science Week theme for schools— ‘Destination Moon: more missions more science’ that not only celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landings and Australia’s vital supporting role but also the establishment in July 2018 of the Australian Space Agency. ASTA’s Resource Book of Ideas for National Science Week offers teachers and students opportunities to explore the people, agencies, universities and science organisations that make up the Australian space industry and engage their students in the wonders of space science.

NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK 2019 AND THE SCHOOL THEME ‘DESTINATION MOON: MORE MISSIONS, MORE SCIENCE’ Held on 10-18 August, this year’s National Science Week comprises over 120 events at locations all over Australia. We highlight the events related to space, and also provide the complete calendar of events running throughout Science Week and beyond. 'Destination Moon: more missions, more science'; is the school theme for National Science Week in 2019.


Geoff Quinton President, Australian Science Teachers Association

PO Box 334, Deakin West ACT 2600 T. 02 6282 9377 F. 02 6282 9477 E. ABN 87 902 882 824

s we recall the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing there is also a lot to look forward to following the 2018 establishment of the Australian Space Agency, based in Adelaide. So ‘Destination Moon: more missions more science’ is a most

appropriate schools’ theme for National Science Week, and the focus on space provides powerful inspiration for young people all over Australia as they get involved and engage not only in space science but with STEM studies more generally. The Australian Science Teachers

Association (ASTA), a federation of the eight state and territory Science Teacher Associations, has been involved with National Science Week for 38 years, and began delivering a resource book to teachers on the selected theme in 1984. These themes have spanned the environment, Antarctica, exploring the oceans and flight. This year, with the help of their teachers, Australian students will be looking towards the Moon and learning not only about the technology that took humans to the Moon, but also the fascination with space which began when Indigenous Australians, and other indigenous







"Australian students will be looking towards the Moon and learning not only about the technology that took humans there, but also the fascination with space which began when Indigenous Australians, and other indigenous peoples, looked out into the night sky and the stars and shared stories about the constellations." peoples, looked out into the night sky and the stars and shared stories about the constellations. As it does for National Science Week each year, ASTA has published a digital resource book for teachers to accompany the chosen theme, and the Destination Moon poster is available and is being distributed to schools in advance of the event. There is also a downloadable timeline entitled “Australia’s history in space”, which tells the story of Australia’s contribution to space exploration. In terms of space technology, Destination Moon focuses on three areas: • How the combination of scientists, engineers, chemists, designers,



mathematicians, flight directors, software experts, aerospace technicians and the technologies they used made the NASA Apollo 11 mission a success 50 years ago • The space technologies and designs that have made more missions into space possible • The space industry capabilities being envisioned and prototyped today, that inevitably will fulfil ambitions of returning to the Moon and other destinations in our solar system In pursuing this focus, students around Australia will learn how the technology that culminated in the Moon landing, from Chinese rockets in the 13th century to 1926 when American rocketry pioneer Dr

Robert H Goddard designed the first liquid-fuelled rocket, a date which marks the birth of modern rocketry. From this began a series of technological developments which led to the Apollo 11 landing, which in turn has opened up areas of space exploration to other planets such as Mars. These epic phases of space science, space technology and innovation have, in the 21st century, enabled a dynamic era of space science to evolve, one in which a new generation of space instruments and satellite capabilities have been informed by quantum technologies, big data, optical research and data science. 2019 is also the UN declared International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, and coincides with the 150th anniversary of the creation of the table by Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeleev. The National Science Week resource book also celebrates this sesquicentenary by including

information about the table, and about elements found in space and on the Moon. In 2019, National Science Week is comprised of independently organised public events at venues all over Australia. Some of these are ongoing events or exhibitions, but the majority are specially scheduled during the week of 10-18 August. In addition to these public events, there are 290 schools that have received grants of up to $500 to help them conduct a range of science activities during the week of 10-18 August. This was after a competitive grant round in which 460 schools made applications. Hundreds of other schools are staging their own events too. There was also a grant round for public projects, and a total of $723,000 was awarded to 53 projects. Not all of these activities, events or projects are on the theme of space technology or exploration: they deal with a wide variety of issues such as the environment, biodiversity, oceanography and general science. However, a significant proportion are related to the key theme of Destination Moon and here are some highlights from the general grant round.

Performed by professional actors and educators, the fact-filled program inspires audiences with the astonishing discoveries, innovations and solutions of space science and how these impact our daily lives as well as drive our future. The performance features the work of local Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt, Ruby Payne-Scott, the Square Kilometre Array and Australia’s role in the transmission of the first moon landing. Free general public performances will tour major venues in capital cities, and schools in each region.

after the Big Bang to the presentday, will work with dance artists Liz Lea and Eric Avery, photographer Jen Brown and animator James Josephides. They will create an arts/ science performance exploring the key concepts of ASTRO 3D research, including the origin of the ionised universe and of the periodic table. The aim is to place the human body in space while seeking connections with cultural histories including the Dreamtime and recent discoveries being made by astronomers.


TastroFest – Tasmania’s Astronomy Festival – kicks off National Science Week in the Apple Isle with planetarium shows, Aboriginal astronomy, solar observing, telescope workshops, the latest Hubble images, droid building displays, 3D printing displays, movies, aurora, and

Astronomers and artists are taking a four-dimensional trip through space and time at the Australian National University. ASTRO 3D astronomers, who research the universe from soon



‘Launch to the Future! A STEM Story’ is a theatrical performancebased education program exploring Australia’s contribution to space science and the 2019 schools’ theme: ‘Destination Moon: more missions, more science’. Launch to the Future combines high energy sketch comedy and improvisation to entertain, inspire and educate audiences through a fun and interactive live experience.







observatory is designed to travel far and wide, and is equipped with computerised telescopes for solar viewing and night-time astronomy.


"Tasmania is the only state with regular auroras and has some of the clearest skies in the world, making it a hot spot for the art and science of the night sky. TastroFest is held over three days in Ulverstone." astrophotography workshops, guest lectures, beginners’ astronomy, kids’ workshops, a photographic art gallery, live science demonstrations, night sky viewing sessions, virtual reality experiences, cosplay, Lego displays, brain games, pop-up science toy shops, author talks, a giant inflatable replica of the Space Shuttle Discovery and more. This year’s TastroFest will feature livestreamed Q&A sessions with NASA astronauts and staff (both past and present) in Houston. Patrons will be able to ask live questions and will hear from those who were part of the space program 50 years ago. They will learn how it was then, and what it is like for today’s astronauts who were inspired by these events, and what training



they go through in order to be a part of the space program. Tasmania is the only state with regular auroras and has some of the clearest skies in the world, making it a hot spot for the art and science of the night sky. TastroFest is held over three days in Ulverstone.


Realise the power of stars, delve into the latest gravitational wave research and explore the universe – all without leaving town. Science communicators and researchers Associate Professor Alan Duffy and Dr Rebecca Allen return to share

the latest wonders of Australianled research in astronomy through SciVR – an immersive astronomy experience enabled by a virtual reality (VR) smartphone app. Duffy and Allen share the science of astronomy through a more inclusive experience with an updated app, special close-captioned studio live-stream, and social media Q&A to regional groups and grassrootsorganised viewing parties in libraries and other venues across the country.

SOUTHERN CROSS OUTREACH OBSERVATORY PROJECTMUHAMMAD HUSSAIN An observatory on wheels will head to regional South Australia in August. Southern Cross Outreach Observatory Project is a mobile astronomical observatory taking science engagement to regional communities. This mobile

Ground Control to Major Tom: what does it take to turn an astronaut into a barista? In a fishbowl-style public forum, research scientists will roleplay how they would roast, grind and extract quality coffee in the extremes of space. In a hands-on activity the public tastes and rates coffee with systematically varying particle size distributions, viewed through provided microscopes. Public lectures by scientists summarise and extend the science behind coffee. This will be offered at regional venues in Bendigo, Mildura and Shepparton, where some of these activities will be combined. This project uses the light-hearted premise of making coffee in space to engage the public in the serious science and technology around space travel.


biology and Hollywood depictions of Sex in Space with an open mind and a good dash of humour.


The Geelong Gallery will present a major exhibition titled ‘The Moon’ to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. A dynamic and engaging suite of education and public programs will accompany The Moon, informed by Earth and space sciences, which is a major strand of the Victorian Curriculum. A mini space theatrette with footage from NASA, a pop-up planetarium and other informative educational activities will provide unique opportunities to engage students, and connect people of all ages to this momentous celebration during National Science Week. At the school level, many of the National Science Week grants were also for space-themed events, at pre-schools, primary and secondary schools around Australia. Pre-schoolers at the Pinocchio Early Learning Centre in the ACT, for example, will conduct four hands-

on activities on the Destination Moon theme. Activities will include the making of Moon models, observation of the Moon and an explanation of gravity, while students will also build their own rockets. At the Orana Steiner School, students from Years 5 to 10 will be constructing rockets over the course of Science Week, culminating in a rocket competition and Science Fair. In Coffs Harbour at Bishop Druitt College, the school will hold an astronomy/space night packed with hands-on activities. Telescopes will be set up outside to observe the Earth’s close celestial neighbours, with activities set up around the school centre and playing fields. Today there are many scientists, technologists, researchers, entrepreneurs, aerospace technicians and mathematicians laying the foundation for space activities into the 22nd century. Many of these individuals are working in areas that could result in new big-picture, space-related ideas and discoveries, and the hope is that the next generation will find inspiration during National Science Week in 2019. n

Science performer extraordinaire David Cannell will be in the GAMMA.CON 2019 program wowing audiences with shows to amaze and engage all ages. The Science of Star Wars explores the science shown in the films and how they compare to reality; he takes a look at what evolution may be like in the Star Wars universe and gives theory on how a lightsaber may be built. Then during GAMMA@Night Cannell explores the very probing question of Sex in Space: Has anyone ever had sex in space? Is it even possible? What about in free fall? Cannell explores the physics,




THE NAVIGATORS Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW (Until September 20)


THE MOON Geelong Gallery, Geelong, VIC (until September 1)


YMCA CANBERRA SPACE SQUAD Bush Capital Lodge, Canberra, ACT (until July 12)

THE SCIENCE OF HOARDING Metcalfe Auditorium, Sydney, NSW

SCIENCE IN THE PARK Coolart Wetlands and Homestead, Somers, VIC

READING SCIENCE Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW


SCIENCE WORKSHOPS FOR PRESCHOOLERS Warilla Baptist Preschool, Warilla, NSW (Until August 16)

CELEBRATING OUR WOMEN IN SCIENCE Kings Park Education, Perth, WA (Until August 15)



OPENING OF PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITIONS Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW (Until August 11) LITTLE EXPLORERS BIG DAY OUT Hyde Park South, Sydney, NSW SPOTLIGHT PROWL FOR FAMILIES Centennial Park, Robertson Gate, Centennial Park, NSW




SCIENCE GALLERY MELBOURNE – DISPOSABLE POP-UP The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC (until September 1)



MOLECULE Royal Adelaide Hospital – Emerging Artist Galleries, Adelaide, SA (Until October 7)


SHINE BRIGHT LITTLE SCIENCE EXPLORERS PROGRAM Shine Bright Early Learning Centre, Picnic Point, NSW (Until August 16)




TASTROFEST – TASMANIA’S ASTRONOMY FESTIVAL Ulverstone Stadium, West Ulverstone, TAS (Until August 3) “MATTER” BY SEAN O’CONNELL Moonah Arts Centre, Moonah, TAS (Until August 24) WOMEN IN STEM CONFERENCE AT MELBOURNE ZOO (ALL SCHOOLS) Melbourne Zoo, Parkville, VIC


SCIENCE ALIVE! 2019 Adelaide Showground, Wayville, SA (Until August 4)



DESTINATION MOON STEAM FAIR Bridgetown High School, Bridgetown, WA (Until August 16)

WINNING SKY: ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW (Until September 7)

ROCKETS San Sisto College, Carina, QLD (Until August 15)

DESTINATION MOON & BEYOND WITH BEN Z Frankston Library, Frankston, VIC SOAPBOX SCIENCE SYDNEY Circular Quay Western Promenade, The Rocks, NSW FREE GEMSTONE DIG REAL FOSSIL DIG Refreshing Memories Educational Toys, Blair Athol, SA (Until August 18) ORDER AND PROGRESS: A SONIC SEGUE ACROSS A AURIVERDE Newcastle Museum, Newcastle, NSW (Until August 18) OPENING EVENT: THE DISH Huskisson Pictures, Huskisson, NSW


OUR MOON: PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW (Until September 7)

SCIENCE IN THE CITY Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW (Until August 15)

COLLAGEN, GROUNDWATER AND NUCLEAR REACTORS Kogarah Library and Service Centre, Kogarah, NSW


STEM SKILL LOGIC GAMES – COME AND TRY Refreshing Memories Educational Toys, Blair Athol, SA (Until August 18)



NANOMEDICINE AND CANCER THERAPY Max Webber Library, Blacktown, Blacktown, NSW INDIGI HACK 2019 National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Redfern, NSW (Until August 9)



SCIENCE IN THE WILD – DINOSAURS VS SUPERPOWERS The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, Lakeside Lawn, Mount Annan, NSW URRBRAE WETLAND OPEN DAY Urrbrae Wetland, Netherby, SA TEC-NQ OPEN DAY Tec-NQ, Douglas, QLD





PICNIC UNDER THE STARS The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, Lakeside Lawn, Mount Annan, NSW

OCEANS OF KNOWLEDGE Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PETS Bayside Gallery, Brighton, VIC


GONDWANA GARDEN FAMILY DAY Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, Mount Tomah, NSW

MOUNTAIN HEIGHTS SCHOOL SCIENCE FAIR Mountain Heights School Gymnasium, Queenstown, TAS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE Metcalfe Auditorium, Sydney, NSW YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE PROOF Stanton Library, North Sydney, NSW WAIT WAIT…SAVE OUR SPECIES! Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT ARE CLIMATE MODELS CRYSTAL BALLS? Hurstville Library and Service Centre, Hurstville, NSW


SCIENCE FAIR @ BALDIVIS Performing Arts Centre, Baldivis Secondary College, Baldivis, WA TISSUE PAPER HOT AIR BALLOON Australind Senior High School, Australind, WA

MOIL SCIENCE FAIR Moil Science Fair, Moil, NT

THE SCIENCE OF PLANTBANK – UNVEILED The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, PlantBank, Mount Annan, NSW

SOUTHERN CROSS EARLY CHILDHOOD SCHOOL BIG BIRD BOX PROJECT Southern Cross Early Childhood School, Scullin, ACT (Until August 16)


BEAKERSTREET@TMAG Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, TAS (Until August 17)

NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK EXTRAVAGANZA Taylors Lakes Secondary College, Taylors Lakes, VIC (Until August 16)

GOING BALLISTIC Jarvis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW

MEET THE AUTHOR: DR CHRIS FERRIE Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW


FAIR IS FOUL AND FOUL IS FAIR Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW BLUE – COMMUNITY SCREENING Oxley Shire Hall, Oxley, VIC




THE AL – ZR OF THE PERIODIC TABLE The University of Sydney - Great Hall, Camperdown, NSW


SCIENCE IN THE SWAMP – DINOSAURS VS SUPERPOWERS Centennial Parklands, Dicken’s Lawn, Centennial Park, NSW

ONE SMALL STEP Frankston Library, Frankston, VIC




SCIENCE SOAPBOX: SHOW AND TELL Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW




MARYBOROUGH REGIONAL STEM POP-UP Brolga Theatre, Maryborough, QLD (Until August 14)


SIZZLING SOLAR OVENS Woorabinda State School, Woorabinda, QLD (Until August 16) NARARA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL STEM DAY Narara Valley High School, Narara, NSW


SCIENCE @ URRBRAE Urrbrae Agricultural High School, Netherby, SA (Until August 14) BUSH TUCKER, BEASTS AND BANKSIAS Jervis Bay Maritime Museum, Huskisson, NSW MARVEL AT THE MOON AND STARS WITH MAGNT MAGNT Maritime Gallery, The Gardens, NT (Until August 18)



GARDEN NIGHT-LIFE FOR FAMILIES Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Sydney, NSW CREATING A FROG-FRIENDLY GARDEN Bannon Carpark, Ulverstone, TAS (Until August 17) IMMERSIVE SCIENCE III (SCIVR): ASTRONOMY FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS – GOLD COAST Helensvale Library & Cultural Centre, Helensvale, QLD


THE PLANETS – CONCERT AND STARGAZING Dicken’s Lawn, Centennial Parklands, NSW

MOUNTAIN HEIGHTS SCHOOL SCIENCE FAIR Mountain Heights School Gymnasium, Queenstown, TAS


ABORIGINAL LAND MANAGEMENT SYMPOSIUM Sustainability Learning Centre, Mt Nelson, TAS


SCIENCE INVOLVED IN CULTURE – TOOTHPASTETREES Broadmeadows Global Learning Centre, Broadmeadows, VIC


INSPIRE SCIENCE EXPO Narangba State School, Narangba, QLD


YMCA CANBERRA SPACE SQUAD Bush Capital Lodge, Canberra, ACT (Until October 4)

For more information about the events and for opening times, go to



By Professor Russell Boyce, Director, UNSW Canberra Space


onventional wisdom (backed up by scholarly research) says that nothing inspires children more than space and dinosaurs. Australia is blessed with both and has no shortage of very smart children. Not just that – Australia has no shortage of young people full stop. Each of them, and the parents and teachers and other adults that guide them, are facing a world of greater and greater complexity and challenge, faster and faster change, increasing turbulence and congestion, more and more uncertainty. How are they going to handle that? How are teachers and parents going to help them navigate that future? And for Australia, and for the world at large, how are we ALL going to navigate that future, deal with the challenges, and create and embrace new opportunities? Australia is alive with the ‘space buzz’ at the moment. Our country has

embarked on a new journey, a new opportunity, to become a space-faring nation, to grab the Space 2.0 adventure and all that it offers with both hands, to find some niche swim lanes of space disruption and jump into world leadership (in at least some of those lanes). Australian groups like UNSW Canberra Space – a 50-strong team of world-class space engineers and scientists – are already making waves in the global space community with advanced space missions underpinned by research that fuses modern space technology with artificial intelligence. Amongst the buzz, Australia talks enthusiastically about STEM. We talk about inspiration, about increasing numbers of young people getting excited about space and choosing STEM subjects and STEM careers. Some statistics are relevant here1. For example, it is estimated that 75% of the fastest growing occupations need at least some STEM skills, while CSIRO is convinced engagement with space exploration encourages students into STEM-related

study and careers. The Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex education program alone attracts 10,000 students a year. Michael Pakakis, Director of the Victorian Space Science Education Centre in Melbourne, has been a science teacher for 32 years. He maintains: “Take any subject and make it space-related. Engagement goes up 100%.” It is all true, and it is a massive opportunity. Certainly the embryonic space industry in this country is going to need them – it is going to need passionate young engineers, brilliant young scientists, canny young entrepreneurs. With the excitement around space and the rapidly growing efforts to use space to inspire children to pursue STEM, and government’s commitment to invest in STEM programs, we can probably be confident that the dots will join up and there will be more and more young people pursuing STEM careers, in space and beyond. But that is not enough. If the young people of today are going to navigate and solve the

challenges of tomorrow, and if Australia is going to do likewise and create opportunities, be good stewards of our beautiful environment, improve our national output and play a role in international security, then more children and teenagers pursuing STEM is a necessary but not sufficient outcome. Beyond ‘doing STEM’, we need those young people to be thinkers, to be problem solvers, to be leaders – leaders with ideas, leaders with insight and vision, leaders who care about the world around them and the people that they intersect with and influence. Australia, not just the Australian space sector, needs inspired thinkers and leaders as we explore the future. So why not use space to find and nurture those inspired thinkers and leaders? For a start, space is so appealing, so fundamentally exciting and inspirational, that most children and teenagers want to engage in space-related experiences and learning activities. That is the first hurdle cleared almost automatically. The students will almost certainly learn, and many of them will learn deeply. But deep learning is not enough. It is not necessarily the same as adaptive learning – the learning that develops the cognitive capabilities that enable thinking outside the box and solving complex multidisciplinary problems. The best way to develop such abilities is to immerse the learners in the tasks and processes and challenges that require the thinking in the first place – and the tasks and challenges faced by space scientists and engineers are exactly that. So, for example, having armed the children with a little insight into the physics that govern orbiting the Earth or embarking at insane speed on planetary exploration (so that their thinking will be anchored in reality), we could focus them first on the problem to be solved and the users whose needs might be met through the clever design of a space mission. We should not constrain the

solution from the start, but rather we should encourage the ‘out of the box’ ideation that will lead to all manner of solutions. Not only that – we should not constrain the problem either; while young people certainly get excited about missions to the Moon and to Mars, they care very deeply about what is going on here on Earth, and spacebased technology and activity is capable of addressing needs and opportunities in virtually every aspect of modern society. We should encourage the kids to connect the excitement of space to the solution of issues that they care about on the ground. Examples could include systems to spot bushfires and guide firefighters, or keep tabs on the impact of climate change on Pacific Island communities, or manage our waterways, or provide for the smart cities and transportation systems of the future. The complexities of thinking about how to conceive space systems to enable such terrestrial problems to be solved will stimulate out-of-the-box thinking. Through the act of applying such thinking to solve problems, meet challenges and embrace opportunities, and (if embedded in the necessary considerations of ethics) doing so with thoughts tempered by what is

right and what is wrong amongst the myriad of technical solutions available to us, we stand to help nurture the thought leadership of the future and not just the innovators of the future. A significant opportunity for this will present itself in National Science Week 2020, when Australia (led by UNSW Canberra Space) hosts the largest space research conference in the world in Sydney – COSPAR 2020 (see www. for more information). Potentially 3,000 of the best space researchers in the world will gather in Sydney to discuss latest advances, and to engage with Australia – with our space sector, our people, our teachers, our children. STEM will be a major focus of the week, and activities are being designed that will grow our teacher capabilities and expose children to the thinking skills that space demands. Australia has opened the door to amazing opportunity enabled by space. Certainly not the least of these opportunities is the impact that space can have, if applied thoughtfully, on turning the young talent of today into the leaders of tomorrow. [1] Dr Carol Oliver, “Australia’s new national space agency will help students reach for the stars in STEM”, The Conversation, September 29, 2017






When the federal government announced the creation of a new national space agency for Australia in September 2017, it was a boost not only for the space industry but for the wider and more general cause of STEM education. By Lachlan Colquhoun.


he issue of inspiring students to take up education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has been on the national agenda for several decades, as Australia seeks



to become a knowledge economy and compete globally with ideas, intellectual property and research and development. As 75% of the fastest growing professional occupations need at least some STEM skills, this has emerged as an issue of critical importance for Australia’s future. There are few subjects more inspirational, and aspirational, than space exploration and technology, and many in the STEM education sector are hopeful that the creation of the space agency will be the catalyst for greater interest in STEM among young Australians. As Michael Pakakis, the Director of the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC) put it, soon after the space agency was announced: “Take any subject and make it space related.

Engagement goes up by 100%.” Pakakis should know. He has been a teacher of high school students for 32 years, and since VSSEC was founded in 2006 around 100,000 Victorian students have been through its doors.


VSSEC is one of a number of similar organisations to have sprung up around Australia with the aim of using the inspiration of space exploration to drive their engagement with STEM. They are part of a growing national ecosystem which can collaboratively build momentum for STEM education. In Sydney there is the Mars Lab at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, in Adelaide there is the South Australian Space School, while the CSIRO has a program at

the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. The new Australian Space Agency in Adelaide has been established close to the city’s three universities, while at the University of Canberra there is the STEM Education Research Centre, which fosters innovation in technology and STEM education research. In Victoria, the education system has responded with the establishment of 10 new Tech Schools designated as centres of STEM excellence. Located at university or TAFE campuses, they introduce students to post-secondary education environments, career pathways and develop the skills students will need for future jobs. No students are enrolled. Instead, students from nearby partner schools can visit to engage in free, sophisticated learning programs run in partnership with industry groups. One Giant Leap Australia is another organisation established with the aim of preparing the next generation to thrive in an increasingly complex and competitive global economy. Its mission and goal is to send participants “on a journey of discovery”. Founded in 2015 by Jackie and Bob Carpenter, One Giant Leap Australia creates unique learning experiences to develop and enhance STEM literacy, as well as crucial skills of problem solving, critical analysis, creative thinking, communication and collaborative teamwork. The organisation has key partnerships with some of the major players in the space and aerospace industries, including NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories, the Royal Australian Airforce and the US Space and Rocket Centre. A key part of One Giant Leap’s work is to take delegations of Australian students, teachers and parents to Space Camp USA, based in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2018, the One Giant Leap

delegation comprised 123 participants, made up of 80 students, 16 teachers and 27 parents and community leaders. The next camp, in 2020, includes visits to the headquarters of aerospace company Northrop Grumman, the Spaceship Company, and a dinner with NASA scientists.


Organisations such as One Giant Leap and the state-based space initiatives all compliment the work of Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra which was established in Canberra in 1988.

"The challenge for Australia is to provide sufficient incentives for many of these people to pursue their careers at home, and become the vanguard for a new wave of STEM which will permeate through Australian industry at all levels." Questacon’s mission is to promote a greater understanding and awareness of science and technology, and the organisation is committed to making that experience fun, interactive and relevant. Each year, Questacon welcomes over 500,000 visitors to its two facilities in Canberra, while another 660,000 people see its exhibitions in other museums and centres around Australia. As Australia’s chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, wrote in Questacon’s 2018 Annual Review: “Hundreds pass through Questacon’s doors every day, travelling, just like me, to that astonishing place that science might one day help us to reach. And there they encounter our A team of Future Envoys: the passionate, articulate and

endlessly creative Questacon staff. For me, as for so many Australians, they are really the staff of our Embassy of the Future in Canberra.” Questacon’s Outreach programs take to the roads each year, visiting an additional 110,000 townships and communities across the country, and the organisation also has long-running partnerships and collaborations with corporate Australia which facilitate the delivery of the science experience to people even in the remotest parts of the country.


In recent times, many young Australians inspired by STEM and space have taken their talents overseas. Victorian student Will Read was inspired by a VSSEC program and after completing a doctoral degree now works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Centre where he works on Mars Rover type technology. At the University of New South Wales, the Australian Centre for Astrobiology has three past students working at NASA. The challenge for Australia is to provide sufficient incentives for many of these people to pursue their careers at home, and become the vanguard for a new wave of STEM which will permeate through Australian industry at all levels. One example of this is Solange Cunin, a graduate of the UNSW astrobiology course, who has created a start-up called Cuberider, a STEM education program aimed at educating thousands of young people in near space satellite use. Cuberider’s work, and that of all the organisations collaborating in this sector, is critical for Australia’s future. In pursuing this future, the new Australian Space Agency can be a flagship and an inspiration for a new generation of young Australians.n









ne Giant Leap Australia constantly strives to meet its mission of Investing in Tomorrow Today. One Giant Leap Australia believes that for Australia to reach its full potential in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), we need to ensure that the future workforce is being equipped with the diverse and dynamic set of skills that will meet the needs of employers in our emerging and innovative industries. In order to reach this goal, One Giant Leap Australia designs, develops and provides a diverse range of immersive STEM opportunities for all members of the community. These unique activities are helping to inspire and excite our primary, secondary and tertiary students, teachers, industry leaders and members of the broader community about what lies ahead. Participants develop and enhance their skills in leadership, creativity and flexibility which are necessary to boost innovation, productivity and growth nationally.




In collaboration with scientists from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), One Giant Leap Australia has facilitated monthly teleconferences with Australian schools. Each session highlights a specialist scientist from NASA JPL and comprises 45 minutes from the scientist and 15 minutes of questions from the students. Student questions are provided to the presenter in advance to allow research, if required, as well as indicating the level of understanding of the students. The number of schools per teleconference is limited to 10 and nominated schools are rotated through the sessions to ensure the widest possible coverage of schools, students and teachers. It is so cool for kids to be able to learn from experts in the field. Great for our teachers too. In 2018, the NASA JPL scientists presented to more than 80 metropolitan, rural and remote areas schools and over

3,500 primary and secondary students and teachers across NSW, Victoria, ACT and WA. The program was expanded this year into other states and territories, including Distance Education Centres which has enabled One Giant Leap Australia to reach out to students on remote cattle stations, in hospitals and other very remote parts of our vast country. On 15 May, Dr Leon Alkalai delivered a teleconference to more than 2,000 students across 11 locations. Dr Alkalai is the Assistant Division Manager for Formulation and the Lead for Formulation at JPL’s Engineering and Science Directorate. Leon is a recently appointed JPL Fellow and he is a Full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). Year 3 students all the way through to university rocketry clubs actively participated in Leon’s incredible presentation. Leon approached One Giant Leap Australia as he is fully aware of the program and wanted to assist in inspiring Australian students to pursue a career in STEM. The audience was engrossed in his presentation and plenty of questions were asked via the chat application. A group of students who are in a support unit wrote about their experience. Leon inspired us all and told us about the incredible work NASA JPL is doing now and plans into the future. I can say that kids that we find challenging to engage in learning, were writing pages of notes and questions.


Teleconferences can be inspirational but coupled with meeting people face to face makes the whole experience immersive and

personal. So after thousands of students met them in teleconferences, hundreds of students were given the opportunity to meet NASA JPL scientists in real life. In July 2018, One Giant Leap Australia held the inaugural Space, STEM and Your Future conference and workshops. In collaboration with Macquarie University, the conference and workshops were held over five days. The conference included two days of Professional Development for primary, secondary and tertiary educators and three days of presentations and practical workshops for primary, secondary and tertiary students. The highly successful educator program culminated in 20 educators being trained in how to log in and operate the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT). These teachers can now log into the telescope regularly with their students from their classrooms in any location. The student presentations and workshops covered diverse topics in earth sciences, marine biology, Mars rovers and jet propulsion in space. Over 1,000 students were enthralled and amazed by the NASA JPL scientists who work in these fields and on these projects. Public lectures and talks were also provided to key educational institutions throughout Sydney. Following the success of the 2018 conference and workshop series, One Giant Leap Australia has strengthened its collaboration and linkages with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Negotiations have seen this program now expanded into a five-year program. 20 July 2019 is the 50th Anniversary of the Moon landing. Given NASA is saying, “We are Going Forward to the Moon to Stay”, our Space, STEM and Your Future series of events for 2019 is very relevant. Beginning on 21 July, NASA JPL scientists will be sharing their expertise and the future plans in space exploration in Sydney, Canberra, Wagga and the Northern Territory. The first event will be held at the Western Sydney University Campbelltown campus where families are invited to attend a whole day event –

mingling with the NASA JPL scientists and attending workshops and presentations. From 22-24 July, thousands of students and teachers will be given the opportunity to spend the day with seven NASA JPL scientists. There will be public events as well, outreaching into the community. From there we will head to Canberra and then on to Wagga where a thousand students will be able to be immersed in a whole weekend of Space, STEM and Your Future. There will also be an opportunity to go on a field trip with Mike Malaska, a NASA JPL astrobiologist! Then the plan is to make a beeline to the Northern Territory and some very rural and remote schools. The scientists from NASA JPL are very excited to be visiting the schools that were part of the teleconference series, so their students and the community can be inspired too.


One Giant Leap Australia Space Camp USA tours welcome students, parents, teachers and any interested adults. It is the only company in Australia offering a familystyle space tour and its popularity has been increasing over time. In the past two years, we have assisted students to access $500,000 in grants to allow the dream of attending Space Camp become a reality. The One Giant Leap Australia Space Camp tour has been the best experience of my life. Not only did I enjoy every aspect of

it, I also watched my son grow and change in his outlook on life itself. Building and maintaining student interest and aspiration in STEM cannot be achieved by schools alone. Parents and the broader community, industry, governments and the tertiary education sector are all key stakeholders in working towards achieving a strong STEM sector in Australia. In recognition of this, One Giant Leap Australia has forged strong working relationships and partnerships with a range of educational institutions and providers; local, state and national government agencies; STEM-based companies; aeronautical and astronomical researchers and scientists and other community-based organisations. One Giant Leap Australia prides itself on collaborating with industry, education institutions and the community to ensure the delivery of unique, life-changing STEM experiences for all.

Details can be found at







Africa and at the Woomera Rocket Range in South Australia. The Woomera facility included radio interferometry and optical tracking. During the early negotiations for their construction, the Commonwealth insisted that they should be operated by Australian personnel. This arrangement guaranteed that Australians would play a key role when NASA was given the task of putting man on the Moon.





Australia’s involvement can be traced back to the International Geophysical Year (1957-58), which actually predates the formation of NASA. As part of its contribution to the IGY, the United States planned to launch a satellite. To support this satellite, named Vanguard, the US planned a string of tracking stations around the world. To confirm that the satellite had successfully reached orbit after launch, it created tracking facilities in South

Photos: Ed von Renouard, NASA and




Photo: Hamish Lindsay, NASA and

Many Australians are aware of the role Australia played in capturing the first moon landing on television, but most do not know that Australia played, and still plays, a wider role in the US space program. By Nigel Pittaway.

ifty years ago, on 21 July 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon and said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Thanks largely to the popular movie The Dish, most of us know Australia played a significant role in capturing that moment through the medium of television, but what many people do not realise is that Australia has played a vital, wider, role in the US space program for almost 70 years, and continues to do so to this day.

NASA was formed in July 1958, and took over the space programs developed under the IGY framework. The Vanguard tracking network became the basis for NASA’s Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network (STADAN) for Earth orbiting satellites, of which the Woomera facility was an important part. NASA had also taken over the work of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which planned to send probes to the Moon and planets. Tracking spacecraft on interplanetary trajectories required a different network configuration to STADAN, using three tracking stations placed equidistantly around the surface of the Earth, 120o apart, ensuring one station would always be facing the direction from which the spacecraft’s signals were coming at any given time. The first of the stations in the new network, referred to as the Deep Space Network, was established at Goldstone in California. The meridian which ran 120° west of this site happened to pass through central Australia, so a Deep Space Facility was established at Island Lagoon, just outside Woomera. A second Deep Space Station was established at Tidbinbilla, in the ACT in 1964. When the US announced its manned Mercury spaceflight program in 1959,

a further tracking network was established to meet the special needs of human spaceflight. Two sites were established in Australia, the main station at Muchea, north of Perth, and a second, smaller radar site at Red Lake, near Woomera. Because it was uncertain at that time whether humans could function properly in space, the Muchea station, halfway around the world from Cape Canaveral, had a NASA astronaut as Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), physicians monitoring each flight and a means to remotely fire the spacecraft’s retro rockets should the astronaut become incapacitated.

GEMINI & APOLLO: NASA AIMS FOR THE MOON In 1961, President John F. Kennedy famously committed the US to “landing a man on the Moon, before this decade is out, and returning him safely to the Earth”. This grand challenge caused a major rethink within NASA and was the genesis of the Gemini spaceflight program, a stepping stone in the journey to the Moon. Because the Gemini missions would








the other if required and each could concentrate on one spacecraft during lunar operations.


The original mission plan for Apollo 11, the first to put a human on the lunar surface, was for Tidbinbilla to support the Lunar Module (‘Eagle’), with astronauts Neil Armstrong and ‘Buzz’ Aldrin aboard, and Honeysuckle Creek would provide a similar service for the Command Module (‘Columbia’) and Michael Collins. However, a small fire at the Tidbinbilla complex a day into the mission resulted in NASA switching roles. The Carnarvon and Orroral Valley Tracking Stations would receive telemetry from the scientific instruments that the astronauts left on the lunar surface. Carnarvon also hosted a station of the Solar Proton Alert Network, to monitor solar activity and provide adequate warning of harmful solar flares. In the early days of space exploration, NASA had requested access to the CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope, which opened in 1961 and featured a 64-metre dish – more than double the size of the 26m antennae

used by NASA. Although the Parkes facility was required for the CSIRO’s radio astronomy work, it unofficially tracked NASA’s Mariner 2 mission to Venus in 1962 and Mariner 4 to Mars in 1964, and its innovative design was the prototype for the 64m dishes of the Deep Space Network. For Apollo 11 and later Apollo missions, Parkes’ large dish would play a pivotal role in receiving television images of the lunar Extra Vehicle Activities (EVAs). The picture the world wanted to see was humanity’s first step onto the Moon but this would have to be transmitted by Eagle’s smaller antenna, located on the ascent stage of the Lunar Module. The initial plan was for the Goldstone facility in California (which also had a 64-metre dish) to provide pictures of the historic event, but a NASA decision to insert a period of crew rest into the schedule after landing meant Parkes would become the primary source of television pictures. In the event, Armstrong overruled the NASA crew rest requirement and responsibility passed back to Goldstone, as the moon would be in its field of view. However, the length of time it took Armstrong and Aldrin to prepare for the EVA would have them stepping on the Moon shortly before Goldstone’s viewing window would close, and the Moon had not yet risen sufficiently for Parkes to establish sufficient communications for the allimportant pictures. In the event, the initial pictures the world saw of Armstrong stepping out of the Lunar Module’s cabin were supplied by Goldstone, but were of relatively poor quality. The actual footage of Armstrong coming down the ladder and stepping onto the lunar surface came from Honeysuckle Creek, but after about eight-and-a-half minutes, the rest of the EVA footage – about two-and-a-half hours of it – came from Parkes, as the Moon had risen

into its field of view. As depicted in ‘The Dish’, Parkes’ contribution came at a time when weather conditions were technically in excess of the radio telescope’s safe operating limits, with at least two squalls generating wind speeds of up to 110km/hr.


Another little-known fact regarding Australia’s involvement in the Apollo program was the role both Honeysuckle Creek and Parkes, supported by Tidbinbilla and Carnarvon, played in the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission in April 1970. Honeysuckle Creek was in communication with the spacecraft when the oxygen tank aboard the Service Module exploded and the tracking station was responsible for continued communications in the immediate aftermath.

After the crew sought refuge in the Lunar Module, communications with the crew were made difficult by the debris field around the spacecraft and interference from the third stage of the Saturn V rocket. This S-IVB stage carried a tracking beacon that used the same frequency as the Lunar Module: it was being deliberately crashed into the lunar surface as a seismological experiment. NASA had not considered this would be a problem as the S-IVB would normally have impacted on the Moon long before the Lunar Module touched down. The solution was to use the greater receiving capacity of the larger Parkes dish and, with the help of personnel from Tidbinbilla, the facility was reconfigured within 13 hours. Following their successful journey back to Earth, Honeysuckle Creek was the last ground station to have

communications with the crew before the re-entry radio blackout period. After the conclusion of the Apollo program, Australia continued to support NASA missions, including the Skylab program in 1973 and 1974 and early Space Shuttle missions, before the STADAN and Manned Space Flight Networks were replaced by NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. However, the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex (CDSCC) at Tidbinbilla continues to support the robotic exploration of the Solar System, continuing Australia’s long tradition of involvement in NASA’s space missions. n

The writer would like to thank independent space historian Kerrie Dougherty for her kind assistance in the preparation of this article.

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orbit closer to the equator, the Muchea Tracking Station was located too far south and it was replaced by a station at Carnarvon in 1963. This new tracking station also incorporated a STADAN station and was at that time, the largest NASA tracking facility outside the US. An additional STADAN station was also established at Orroral Valley, in the ACT, in the mid-1960s. Fortuitously, Carnarvon was also in the right location to later send the ‘Go/No Go’ signal to initiate TransLunar Injection for Apollo 11. For the Apollo program, NASA realised that it would need additional Manned Space Flight Network stations to communicate with spacecraft at lunar distances. Since operations at the Moon required simultaneous monitoring of both the Lunar Module on the surface and the Command Module in lunar orbit, NASA decided that each of these three new Apollo stations would be located near existing DSN facilities. In Australia this resulted in the establishment of the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station in 1967, connected with Tidbinbilla via microwave link. Each facility could serve as a back-up to


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everal years before the first lunar landing in 1969 a pair of young physicists at Curtin University (then the Western Australian Institute of Technology) were seeing the bigger picture. Drs John de Laeter and Mervyn Lynch were forging ahead in two auspicious areas of science and technology: mass spectrometry and remote sensing. Fast forward 50 years and Curtin University is still pushing the frontiers in exploration of space, with two large research centres formed around space research. The Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC), led by Professor Phil Bland, and the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA), led by Professor Steven Tingay, are the flagships for space and astronomical sciences at Curtin, along with a range of other groups active in space science. The establishment of CIRA was motivated by the selection of Western Australia as a host for one half of the billion euro Square Kilometre

Array (SKA) project, while the SSTC naturally evolved from the research and hardware innovations that began with the creation of the Desert Fireball Network (DFN). Through these centres, Curtin University is growing the human capital to underpin Australia’s desire to create new space industries and jobs. Our programs involve a substantial number of graduate students, honours, masters and PhDs, and world-leading researchers through partnering in international and national space programs with the likes of NASA, ESA, Lockheed Martin, Silentium, CSIRO, Cisco, Optus and the Department of Defence. INTRODUCING THE MURCHISON WIDEFIELD ARRAY & SQUARE KILOMETRE ARRAY Curtin led the construction of the $50 million Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a precursor for the SKA. The MWA underpins a significant

fraction of Western Australian and national investment to prepare for the SKA, including the WA state government investment into the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), a joint venture between Curtin and the University of Western Australia. Curtin University manages the MWA on behalf of an international consortium of 21 organisations in six countries. The MWA has been operational since 2013, has generated more than 30 petabytes of data, and has resulted in hundreds of high impact publications. This includes fundamental discoveries as diverse as revealing complex structures in the Earth’s ionosphere, surveying the entire sky to study hundreds of thousands of distant galaxies, searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, and looking back in time 13 billion years to watch the first stars and galaxies form soon after the Big Bang. CURTIN IS A WORLD-LEADER IN SPACE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS Although designed for astrophysics, the MWA is proving to be a highly flexible facility, capable of a range of applications including space situational awareness (SSA). With an increasing number of active assets in low Earth orbit and an increasing threat from space debris, novel solutions to SSA will be of great interest internationally, across civilian and defence sectors. The MWA’s defining characteristic is its extreme field of view. Compared with a normal radio telescope with a one-square-degree scan, the MWA scans thousands of square degrees

of the sky, generating massive data sets that are processed by the Pawsey supercomputing facility here in WA. Recognising the MWA’s potential, the federal Defence Science and Technology (DST) is collaborating with Curtin and partner Silentium Defence to develop the MWA for SSA. In another SSA coup, Lockheed Martin Space has partnered with Curtin on a project named FireOPAL, for precise optical tracking of largescale space debris. The foundation technology for this project stemmed from Bland’s DFN program of transcontinental fireball-tracking across Australia and globally. The systems are distinct, but both use a highly distributed network of hardened optical observatories to triangulate and deliver precision trajectories of meteorite fireballs and satellite orbits. “Historically, the model for SSA has been a small number of very high-resolution sensors that might see an object every few days, and then predict those orbits days down the line. Our approach is to have enough sensors to see the same object every couple of hours – basically, we’re smashing the problem with masses of data,” says Bland. Lockheed Martin Australia has praised the innovative approach including the fact that the FireOPAL system is also distinguished by the efficiency of an inexpensive system of autonomous sensors that can operate for years in harsh environments. Furthermore, from an SSA perspective, our Advanced Signal Processing Group has created unique algorithms in the area of multiple object tracking solutions and information fusion. Testament to their expertise, the group’s technologies have been deployed by DST, Lockheed Martin, US Air Force Research Laboratories and others. The Australian Space Agency provides the seeds for a coordinated

and internationally important national SSA capability that can be led in WA. As Tingay explains, “Sensor diversity will be important for a robust system that can cover all detection modalities. Australia has a potentially highly diverse indigenous SSA sensor suite, located in a strategic part of the world.” The combination of these multiple solutions and technologies underpins Curtin University’s unique view of the SSA landscape. INTRODUCING THE SPACE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTRE The Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) was launched in November 2018 and is home to a significant number of space programs covering cubesats, asteroid and planetary exploration, and the previously mentioned optical tracking systems. As part of the SSTC, Bland has facilitated a NASA partnership that will provide Australian scientists with access to NASA mission concept development, and established a cubesat program called Binar (meaning ‘fireball’ in the local Noongar language). With the first spacecraft scheduled to launch by

early 2020, he expects that before long, the program will deliver Curtin University with opportunities to develop small satellite systems for applications such as payloads for Earth observation and defence. Blue Skies research within SSTC encompasses the geological, chemical, spectral and geophysical exploration of planets and asteroids in the solar system, utilising meteorites to uncover the geological processes that shaped the solar system over its 4.5 billion-year history. The results of this research will lead directly into a better understanding of inventory of extraterrestrial resources and the potential to unlock them. As an example, SSTC’s Professor Gretchen Benedix, a meteorite expert, has teamed up with data science experts from the Curtin Institute for Computation to create the first successful machine learning algorithm applied to spacecraft data from the Moon and Mars. With such diversity and depth of expertise, 50 years on from its first investments in remote sensing, it is clear that Curtin’s future-focused decisions will continue to serve Australia’s strengths in space capability development and research.





THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF SPACE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS Fifty years since Australia celebrated its role in landing humans on the lunar surface, the country is playing an important and growing role in tracking objects in space. By Nigel Pittaway.


he monitoring of space objects falls under the heading of space situational awareness (SSA), a complex subset of the wider subject of space traffic management (STM)



and it is exponentially growing in importance, in line with the rapid increase in the number of man-made objects orbiting the Earth. As the world embraces ‘New Space’, or ‘Space 2.0’ as it is sometimes referred to, there are more and more players launching increasing numbers of much smaller, and cheaper, nanosatellites into Earth orbit. When it is considered that an object smaller than 10cm, travelling at a typical speed of 10km per second, can disable or destroy a satellite if they collide, the value of accurate and timely SSA becomes apparent. According to the Space Environment Research Centre (SERC), there are in excess of 3,000 satellites currently in

orbit with an estimated total value of about $700 billion. The centre says these satellites generate in the order of two trillion dollars of business each year and any damage will have serious consequences for national economies and the way we lead our lives.


Humans have been sending objects into space ever since the launch of the USSR’s Sputnik satellite in 1957 and today there are millions of pieces of man-made debris in space. These range in size from flakes of paint, to the large communications satellites out in geostationary orbit, tens of thousands of kilometres from the Earth’s surface.

The threat to space vehicles, and therefore the global space economy, is not just man-made: both space weather and natural space debris can also have an adverse effect on the safety of a satellite and the components of SSA and be considered as space weather, natural space debris and orbiting (man-made) space objects. Wing Commander Steve Henry, Deputy Director of Surveillance of Space at Air Force Headquarters in Canberra, regards SSA as a critical component of STM. “STM covers the whole life cycle of a satellite, from design, build and test to ensure it’s safe, through to launch licensing and approvals, operations, and finally end of life disposal to minimize the amount of junk left behind. SSA is our understanding of the space environment and the objects in it; it supports the on-orbit operations component of STM and includes activities like tracking satellites and debris, and monitoring space weather,” he says. SSA is predominantly Earth-based, with space surveillance radars and both optical and infra-red telescopes staring out into space, but Australia is at the forefront of emerging technologies, including passive radar, neuromorphic sensors (inspired by the human eye and brain), and space-based surveillance systems, which will enhance awareness of threats and hazards and improve risk-mitigation or threat-reduction in the future.


The importance of accurate and timely SSA is directly proportional to the importance of satellite-based technology in our daily lives. Almost every time a person makes a call on their mobile telephone, surfs the internet, drives their car using a GPS-based navigation system or withdraws money from an ATM machine, the successful completion of those tasks are dependent in some way

on satellite technology. “Space is the domain of the future and, as a society, we depend upon space – both in the civilian and in the Defence sector. Everyone knows about GPS, but most people are not fully aware of what life would be like if we lost access to space and how much we depend on it in our day-to-day existence,” explains Dr James Palmer, CEO of Adelaide-based technology company Silentium Defence. “We’re not necessarily at the point where the world would stop immediately, but we would suffer heavily if we lost access to those spacederived services.” The access to a more affordable space capability through the development of very small satellites has seen the proliferation of such vehicles, particularly in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), typically between 200km and 2,000km above the Earth. Every space launch also typically contributes an estimated 100 pieces of space debris and, while these factors themselves have increased the risk of collision between vehicles, every collision – or explosion – also produces hundreds and perhaps thousands of additional objects which will continue to orbit the Earth for varying periods of time. This is known as the Kessler Syndrome, based on a paper written by NASA’s Donald Kessler in

1978, which predicts the continued generation of space debris will reach a point where collisions will be inevitable and lead to a chain reaction of such events which, ultimately, has the potential to result in safe orbital spaceflight being impossible. In terms of efforts to counter this, the largest SSA effort in the world is perhaps unsurprisingly, undertaken by the US, which operates a global network of different sensors under its Space Surveillance Network (SSN).


From a geographical perspective, Australia is uniquely positioned to track space debris and conduct STM programs and is one reason why the US has, in conjunction with Defence, relocated a C-Band space surveillance radar (SSR) to the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station near Exmouth in Western Australia. The US is also in the process of relocating an optical space surveillance telescope (SST) from its current site in New Mexico to the Exmouth facility. “Approximately one-eighth of low earth orbit is visible from the Australian continent and that means, geographically, we have a unique outlook and we can contribute a vast amount of information to the space



surveillance network. Australia also punches above its weight in terms of radar and RF technology,” explains Silentium Defence’s Dr Palmer. From an optical tracking standpoint too, SERC regards Australia as a worldleader in the field and, coupled with the recent formation of the Australian Space Agency, a stable political system and an emerging space industry, the future in terms of SSA at least, is promising.


The Space Environment Research Centre (SERC) is a co-operative research centre that is based at the Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra. SERC partners include major national organisations as well as organisations from the US and Japan. Its goal is to address the exponentially increasing risk of collision between satellites and space debris by “building on Australian expertise in the measurement, monitoring, analysis and management of space debris to develop new technologies and strategies to preserve the space environment”. Research participants include Electro Optics Space Systems (EOS Space), the Australian National University (ANU), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Lockheed Martin Space Systems’ Advanced Technology Centre, Optus Satellite Network and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT Japan). At the time of writing, SERC’s active research programs include tracking, characterising and identifying objects in orbit and the preservation of the space environment, orbit determination and predicting behaviours of space objects, and space asset management.


In the SSA domain, the ANU’s Institute for Space at Mount Stromlo specialises

in optical and infra-red monitoring of space and its Director, Professor Anna Moore, says the traditional focus has been on the geostationary (GEO) belt 35,786km above the Earth, but New Space is now shifting much of the focus to LEO, monitoring the larger constellations of small satellites. “SSA gives real-time feedback and as soon as an object’s orbit starts to change, or as soon as other objects start behaving abnormally, you essentially need to know about it straight away,” Prof. Moore says. “In GEO for example, that doesn’t happen very often but, if it does, the SSA global infrastructure will immediately pick it up and distribute that information very quickly. This has been done for many years now and satellites will perform orbital manoeuvres to avoid collision.” However, she says managing SSA in LEO is somewhat more difficult. “Most nanosatellites, or cube satellites, don’t typically have a manoeuvre capability, but I can see the possibility of such a requirement under future commercial space regulations and again this is an area where Australia is involved. ANU is across many of these topics, these leapfrogging technologies that will place Australia ahead of the game and SSA, together with Laser Communications, Infra-Red Technologies and Space Law are our flagship programs,” Prof. Moore says.


Besides the previously mentioned SSR and SST capabilities, which are US-owned but Australian-run, Defence has a keen interest in SSA and it has a sub-program that is looking to acquire mission systems and sensors to enable Australia to make a sovereign contribution to the global capability. The sensors being sought will provide a multi-technology solution and a recent series of events conducted at Woomera in March, led by DST under the SpaceFest 2019 banner, was aimed

at identifying new technologies. “We want to be able to perform wide-area search with large field of view sensors like radars, but we also want to conduct super highfidelity and long-range search using telescopes, which have a narrower field of view,” Wing Commander Henry of Air Force HQ’s Surveillance of Space organisation explains. “SpaceFest was fantastic and the DST trial was a really significant development of SSA capability. We went out to the southern edge of the Woomera Test Range, where there is very little light or electromagnetic pollution and we took a range of Australian capabilities, including ANU, Western Sydney University, Silentium Defence, Inovor Technologies, Curtin University, EOSSS, HEO Robotics and Lockheed Martin Australia.” The capabilities being sought include ground-based and space-based active and passive sensors across a range of technologies, including optical, radar and RF-sensing solutions. “We’re trying to build a complete picture of what’s going on, from LEO to GEO and across the spectrum of activities,” Wing Commander Henry adds.


One of the mechanisms Defence uses to foster emerging Australian technology is via Defence Innovation Hub (Hub) funding grants and it has already invested an estimated eight million dollars in SSA-related contracts. One of the most recent was a $5.7 million contract to Inovor Technologies of Adelaide in April, for the development of a prototype nanosatellite which will potentially contribute to enhanced SSA and also to the global space surveillance network. Inovor Techologies was also awarded the Avalon 2019 Innovation Award for Space Operations and Technology for the nanosatellite-based SSA application. Known as Hyperion, the satellites will be based around the company’s 12U

platform and are designed to support SSA activity in LEO, medium Earth orbit (MEO, which includes the GPS constellation at about 20,000km altitude) and GEO orbital bands. The system will include an Australianmade optical payload to provide a space-based SSA capability and the object detection and tracking algorithms have been developed in conjunction with the Australian Institute for Machine Learning.



A previous winner of a development contract under the DIH scheme is Adelaide-based Silentium Defence, which has developed a ground-based passive radar system using the reflected RF energy from commercial FM radio broadcasts to both geo-locate objects in space and to determine their orbit. “It is a genuinely wide field of view sensor that would be able to cross-cue narrow field of view sensors. It measures range and range rate as well as the angles involved and no other passive sensor is able to do that,” explains Silentium Defence’s Dr Palmer. “It is also able to operate 24/7, which some optical sensors aren’t able to do, and we think it is a really good complement to other sensing modalities.” While the concept is still in the developmental phase, recent field trials have demonstrated its capability to determine an object’s orbit in a single pass and it was one of the technologies recently trialled at the SpaceFest activity in Woomera. “At this stage our focus is LEO but I’m not writing off higher orbits. We were also recently able to demonstrate, with Curtin University and DST, the detection of objects in space using the Murchison Wide Field Array in WA, which is a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope. We were able to use that aperture for looking at objects in orbit using reflected FM radio energy,” adds Dr Palmer. n

Silentium Defence is a global leader in passive radar system design, commercialisation and deployment for wide-field-of-view monitoring of objects in low earth orbit.







COMMERCIAL LAUNCH OPPORTUNITIES IN AUSTRALIA One of the priorities identified in the Australian Civil Space Strategy released in April was the desire to provide access to space for the country’s emerging space industry by leveraging local commercial launch opportunities. By Nigel Pittaway.

eleased on 11 April 2019, the Australian Civil Space Strategy follows the creation of the Australian Space Agency, announced in July 2018, which in part is responsible for supporting the growth of Australia’s space industry. According to the agency, its goal is to triple the size of the industry to $12 billion per year by 2030 and create between 10,000 and 20,000 additional local jobs. “There are emerging opportunities for Australia to leverage international space missions and commercial launch activities from Australian territory to support industry growth,” the Civil Space Strategy states. “Protecting national safety and meeting our international and national obligations will be critical before domestic launch can occur.” The Australian space industry is emerging at an interesting time in space development, with the opportunities provided by what has been called ‘New Space’ (also referred to as ‘Space 2.0’). New Space is taking advantage of advances in technology – and the rate of technological change – which is resulting in an exponential increase in space launch activity. This growth is driven as satellites become smaller, cheaper to manufacture and can be economically refreshed every two or three years to keep track with commercial technology advances. AUSTRALIAN SPACE INDUSTRY OPPORTUNITIES One of Australia’s space startups, Adelaide-based Fleet Space Technologies, has already had some of its nanosatellites launched overseas, including two examples launched from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex-1 facility on New Zealand’s North Island last November. While the first commercial space launch is not expected to occur in



“These new, small satellites are only designed to last one or two years, and because they operate at lower altitudes – typically around the Earth’s poles – it’s cheaper to place them into space and customers can evolve their product to keep pace with changing technology.” Australia until at least 2019, the use of New Zealand as a launch location underscores the opportunity for local start-up launch companies. Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA), one of Australia’s first commercial launch operators, says the international satellite launch vehicle market is rapidly growing and set to surpass US$2.4 billion by 2024. Back in 2017, the international Spaceworks Market Forecast predicted that up to 2,400 nanosatellites will be launched between then and 2024. “The whole world is changing the way it receives data. The large ‘Old Space’ satellites have a life of 10 or 15 years and cost between $200

million and $250 million each – and almost the same again to get then out to their orbit, so you are talking up to half a billion dollars,” explains Southern Launch CEO, Lloyd Damp. “Compare that to a nanosatellite, which weighs perhaps 3kg, and to build and launch it will cost you about one million dollars. Now you are looking at 1/500 of the cost of an ‘Old Space’ satellite and, even if you launch up to 50 of them to give you global coverage, that’s still one-tenth of the cost. At the same time, the underlying technology that is enabling these small satellites is evolving incredibly rapidly. These new, small satellites





"A strong and viable industry needs words to be backed by deeds: companies wishing to launch their products will seek the most costeffective solution and Australian governments, both federal and state, will have to work hard to ensure local facilities are viable." are only designed to last one or two years, and because they operate at lower altitudes – typically around the Earth’s poles – it’s cheaper to place them into space. This means customers can evolve their product to keep pace with changing technology.” And it is not just dedicated launch companies that will benefit from increasing launch opportunities in Australia; there is crossover with service providers within the industry. Melbourne-based Capricorn Space is a provider of ground support services to satellites and is now developing an Australian Ground Network (AGN).



Work on the first site at Mingenew, near Geraldton in Western Australia (AGN-West), is now well underway and due for completion in the third quarter of this year. A second site, to be situated in Eastern Australia (AGNEast), is expected to be completed in the second half of 2020. “Our connection with the launch industry is that we can support launches during the Launch and Early Operations Phase (LEOP). Once the satellite has deployed from the launch vehicle and until it is checked out and officially commissioned, it’s in that LEOP phase. With our AGN capability, we could communicate

with the satellite as it passes our ground stations and transfer the vital data to the satellite operator,” explains Capricorn Space CEO Mark Thompson. “In terms of the launch vehicle operator, we could acquire the telemetry off the vehicle as it passes overhead and then transfer that data on. Beyond LEOP, we could continue to support the satellite in its operational phase.” AUSTRALIA UNIQUELY POSITIONED FOR LAUNCH In terms of land mass and physical location on the planet, Australia is well-placed to host commercial space launch ventures. It is tectonically inactive, relatively sparsely populated and enjoys relatively benign weather patterns. It also has a relatively stable political system, a solid economy and a good industrial base.

Australia is equally capable of supporting both equatorial and polar launches and two of the early entrants to the local market, ELA and Southern Launch, are developing sites in northern and southern parts of the country respectively. “Fundamentally, if you want to launch into orbits around the equator, you want to make as much use of the Earth’s ‘slingshot’ effect as possible, meaning you want to launch to the east, with the rotation of the Earth,” explains Southern Launch’s Damp. “That slingshot effect is maximised if you are within around 15 degrees of the equator and that’s why the European Space Agency conducts all their launches from French Guyana.” Accordingly, as its name suggests, ELA has selected a site near Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory, just 12 degrees south of the equator. “If you are launching into polar Earth orbit (PEO), you want to be as close to the North or South Pole as practical and launch either North or South. But the closer you get to the poles the worse the weather, so there’s a ‘Goldilocks’ zone between approximately 30 and 40 degrees latitude either side of the equator,” Damp says. “Then you have to overlay population, critical infrastructure, shipping and aircraft routes over that, because they are the things affected most by launch activity.” Southern Launch has selected a site known as Whalers Way, south of Port Lincoln on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula for its launch activities. MILITARY LAUNCH OPPORTUNITIES Potential customers are not limited to commercial satellite operators, with the Australian Defence Force recognising space as an important domain. Defence began launch activities

with the launch of its WRESAT from Woomera in 1967 and more recently DST, in partnership with the University of NSW Canberra, successfully deployed the Buccaneer cube satellite aboard a US Delta 2 rocket in November 2017. Defence has an ongoing space program and in November last year the RAAF and UNSW Canberra deployed another cubesat as part of their M1 mission. Unfortunately, communications with the vehicle could not be established after launch, but a further M2 mission is planned in the near future. Wing Commander Steve Henry, Deputy Director of Space Surveillance at Air Force Headquarters in Canberra, indicates there is potential for Australian launch companies to host launches on behalf of Defence. “The ADF isn’t looking to acquire its own launch capability, so any launches we do in the future – and we will need space launches – will be supported commercially. If a commercial launch industry was established in Australia there would be opportunities for Australian companies to compete for Defence business. Wing Commander Henry says. “We support the work of the Australian Space Agency in developing a stronger domestic space industry. ” EQUATORIAL LAUNCH AUSTRALIA ELA is building Australia’s first commercial spaceport on 275 hectares of land on the Dhupuma Plateau, on the Gulkula escarpment in north-east Arnhem Land. Known as the Arnhem Space Centre, the facility will take advantage of the earth’s rotational speed, which at that point is 1,635km/hour, for launches into low Earth orbit (LEO), geostationary orbit (GEO) and Deep Space. “Leveraging the Earth’s speed,

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a launch vehicle can carry more payload to space than if launched at other sites at other higher latitudes, resulting in a more efficient launch for customers,” ELA CEO Carley Scott said. The company said in February that the first launches for customers are expected to commence in late 2019 and it had also signed an agreement with US-based launch service provider TriSept for bookings and service delivery. SOUTHERN LAUNCH Southern Launch is focused on the polar, and polar-like Earth orbit launch market and, after considering 15 locations along the entire southern coast of Australia, selected the site at Whalers Way. “It is close to the major regional city of Port Lincoln with commercial airports and harbours, 4 star hotels and Michelin hatted restaurants so access is relatively easy and with a planned launch azimuth to the south, small rockets can follow a direct ascent trajectory into space. They don’t have to deviate left or right to dodge critical infrastructure; rather they can use all their propellant on board to lift as much payload into orbit every time and maximise the profit for the vehicle operator. With minimal shipping and air traffic passing through our planned launch corridor, operators will be able to launch more frequently, with greater launch schedule flexibility, all from a location that’s easy to get to,” explains CEO Damp. GILMOUR SPACE TECHNOLOGIES Queensland-based rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies has developed a mobile launch platform and ground control station for its nine-metre tall One Vision rocket, which the company says will be soon



be launched from a private property in north Queensland. The company has developed a hybrid rocket propulsion system which will be tested during the flight and it says commercial LEO launches for customers will begin in 2020. In February the Gold Coast-based company said it was in the final stages of seeking launch approvals from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). BLACK SKY AEROSPACE On 21 November 2019, Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacture, Infrastructure and

"In terms of land mass and physical location on the planet, Australia is well-placed to host commercial space launch ventures. It is tectonically inactive, relatively sparsely populated and enjoys relatively benign weather patterns." Planning Cameron Dick announced that Jimboomba-based Black Sky Aerospace had successfully launched its Sighter 190 research rocket from Westmar, north-west of Goondiwindi. The launch was the first sun-orbital launch in Australia with a commercial payload and the four-metre rocket climbed to an altitude of 17,000 feet from Westmar, the only sub-orbital launch facility in the country. “Black Sky Aerospace is proof Queensland can play a leading role in designing and manufacturing rocket and satellite technologies,” Dick says. MORE THAN WORDS The formation of the Australian Space Agency and the release of the Australian Civil Space Strategy is both good news and a positive step in the development of a long-term, viable

space industry. At a state level, Queensland established a Space Industry Reference Group (QSIRG) in June 2018. “The rapid commercial development of space technologies – along with an increased demand for space-based services across the global economy – has driven the creation of a new space industry: Space 2.0,” the accompanying press release stated. “Queensland’s geographical, commercial and research strengths enable us to lead Australia’s exposure to the global space economy. This economy is worth US$345 billion annually and growing exponentially.” Other states, notably South Australia, have also been proactive in fostering local industries. However, a strong and viable industry needs words to be backed by deeds: companies wishing to launch their products will seek the most costeffective solution and Australian governments, both federal and state, will have to work hard to ensure local facilities are viable. That said, the future of space launch capability, together with that of the wider commercial space industry in Australia, would appear bright. “It’s easy for people to think that the only people capable of doing space are international companies. There are so many companies here in Australia looking at building rockets or components for rockets and it’s absolutely fantastic,” Southern Launch’s Damp says. “I can’t wait for those companies to start popping their heads up in front of the Australian public, because it means that kids in schools, or students at universities, get to see that Australians can be part of the global space economy and I am very excited.” n


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SPACE & DISASTER: HOW SATELLITE SAVES LIVES News of natural disasters is rarely off our newsfeeds, TVs and radios. As these climate events become more commonplace, governments are looking to space to help tackle challenges here on Earth. Using satellite technology, the effect of these incidents can be mitigated and lives can be saved. By Helen Jameson & Raymond Stott.


s recently as the last decade, our planet has experienced increasing amounts of natural destructive events. From extreme weather such as cyclones and tsunamis to droughts and earthquakes, these disasters are becoming more commonplace and are posing big challenges for governments all over the world. Disasters cause the destruction of infrastructure, homes and businesses. They pull families apart, displace people and often it is the most povertystricken and least developed areas of the planet that are hit hardest.




Australia is no stranger to extreme weather. The country experienced the most hostile summer yet in 2018/19, which earned itself the nickname ‘The Summer of Disasters’ due to its devastating weather, the cost of which will be counted for years to come. Queensland was particularly badly affected. The city of Townsville and the surrounding area was hit by a cyclone. 1.4 metres of rain fell in less than two weeks. A long-term drought has affected the

Australian outback for several years but last summer was notably brutal with daily temperatures regularly exceeding 40 degrees. In Adelaide, records were broken and the mercury rose to 46.6 degrees Celsius. Many hundreds of wild animals died due to thirst. Water supplies were turned off in a desperate bid to avert crisis, forcing people to pay for drinking water. January 2019 was the hottest on record with a six-degree hike in what is considered a normal temperature. Melbourne recorded its hottest day since bushfires tore through in 2009 and Tasmania was set alight due to extreme temperatures. Crops and cattle were lost, devastating the agricultural sector. Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Queensland Premier, said: “It means the government must prepare properly, including financially, for natural disasters.” Governments and other institutions must now look for ways in which they can bolster their response to such events. How can they be more

prepared? Can these events be predicted? How can they establish reliable communications even in the event of a disaster? How do they ensure that help can reach an affected area? How to they rehabilitate once the disaster itself is over? Communications and detailed data play a critical role in all of this, which cannot be overstated. At the heart of any disaster mitigation, management or recovery plan lies communication, connectivity and information. Satellite and space-based technology has a critical role to play in disaster prevention, management and mitigation. Space offers a unique vantage point from which we can look at our planet in great depth, despite the distance from its surface. It also provides critical connectivity when infrastructure has been lost.


Space-based technology is becoming an essential early warning tool for governments and is enabling them to prepare for extreme events. Earth observation (EO) satellites are equipped with sensors that deliver highly accurate and detailed data that allow the prediction of weather events and therefore enable governments or local authorities to prepare, as much as is possible, for a disaster situation. Early warnings may be issued to residents to evacuate the affected area or to take action themselves. This could warn of something relatively minor, such as a sunburn index, to something as deadly as a wildfire or flooding. Sometimes, a simple text message alert is all that is needed to help avoid a catastrophic situation. The data provided by satellites empowers local government to make decisions and to issue advice.


When a disaster strikes, time is of the essence and the first response services require robust, easy-to-deploy

communications that will enable them to lift the fog of confusion after a serious or catastrophic event. Infrastructure is often badly damaged, or completely wiped out, making it extremely difficult to communicate at a time where communications mean the difference between life and death. Communication solutions in this situation must be highly portable, easy to use, and operational in moments so that first responders can communicate with their teams and other deployed organisations to coordinate their search

"Earth observation satellites are equipped with sensors that deliver highly accurate and detailed data that allow the prediction of weather events and therefore enable governments or local authorities to prepare, as much as is possible, for a disaster situation." and rescue efforts. Applications vary from security and basic communications to reporting tools, informatics, food and non-food distribution, logistics and much more. These agencies face their own unique challenges in terms of communications and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Communications for the disaster response community depend very much on what is available in any given area and NGOs work with local communications providers to try to find the best way around the problem. For example, some Wi-Fi or cellular coverage may be available but only in certain areas and in areas where coverage is not available, satellite becomes the de-facto solution. Satellite provides the emergency response community with a fast-deploy solution that can bridge the gaps in infrastructure, providing instantly

deployable connectivity or long-term access solutions. Satellite solutions could come in the form of a satellite phone or a highly portable BGAN solution or flyaway VSAT terminal that is portable and easy to operate. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, access to the internet and voice communications is absolutely critical. The internet has become a staple communication medium for NGOs and first responders. It is utilised to collect and send data from collaborative cloud platforms that have been specially developed for use by relief actors. It is also used to communicate with headquarters and with the team in the field, via email and instant messaging. The internet also allows teams to keep in touch with international news and developments. For individuals and families affected by a disaster, access to a satellite phone can enable them to make the most important phone calls of their lives. It enables them to contact family and loved ones to let them know where they are and what medical state they are in. Satellite phones will operate from almost anywhere on the planet and, with all other lines of communications lost, they provide the only means of communication. In high-profile disasters, NGOs are not the only arrivals on the scene. 24-hour media are also covering the immediate aftermath and they request dedicated bandwidth for live videos and for the transfer of video.


Once the news crews have left a region affected by disaster and the world’s attention is once again diverted to the next story, the work must still carry on. Affected areas will take months and even years to get back on their feet. For those people left without a home, this is the start of rebuilding their lives, often with the help of NGOs. For people displaced by a disaster,







a community, satellite can act as a hub so that information can be easily relayed and immediate communications can be established, before the arrival of NGOs and other relief agencies. This also helps to combat the issue of ‘donor fatigue’, a real term defined by the United Nations, where companies and agencies that have previously been involved in relief efforts become slow to act to a humanitarian call to action.


there is often no choice but to stay in a camp operated by humanitarian organisations. Satellite connectivity plays a crucial role in these camps, which are often located in more remote areas and where connectivity can be difficult. VSAT terminals are quickly and cost-effectively deployed and offer reliable and scalable communications so that people who are based in camps can gain access to information, email and VoIP via an internet connection. With many children affected, these camps also feature schoolrooms so that kids can continue with their education. Internet connectivity in the schoolroom is indispensable and offers children a hub of information to help with their learning, despite their situation. It is not just education that can be serviced by satellite. In camps, the issue of medical attention is also critical. After a cyclone, for example, fears grow of the spread of infectious diseases such as cholera and typhoid so it is essential that the camp has access to expert medical help. A satellite link enables telemedicine and rapid access to care for people with illnesses or medical emergencies. VSAT connectivity may be left



in place for years after a disaster. The long process of re-establishing terrestrial communications is much less of an issue with the promise of satellite connectivity. NGOs and other organisations will often have agreements in place so that VSAT equipment and bandwidth to service the equipment is available on a long-term basis or until adequate communications are up and running again.


An emerging trend within the disaster response sector is to engage communities to become part of preparedness for a disaster. In prone areas and also in areas where these events are more likely, it makes sense for governments and NGOs to engage local communities to become first responders in the event of a disaster. They know the area intimately and this local knowledge is invaluable. If the communities have access to reliable communications and are fully engaged, they can be the first responders on the scene. Once implemented within

Satellite plays a central role at every point in the cycle of a disaster – from early warning to instant communications once a disaster has hit to re-establishing connectivity and providing a medium-term solution while more permanent terrestrial connectivity is made available again. Satellites provide a lifeline and connectivity when there is no other means of communication. Satellite phones enable those affected to contact their loved ones and first responders to assess the damage. VSAT terminals connect centres from which the relief effort can be coordinated and logistics worked out. Coordination between relief teams is essential in order to maintain a well-ordered mission and to avoid duplication of effort. Then, on another level, satellites play a different role in observing our planet and the changes that bring about unusual events. Using our eyes in the sky, we are able to monitor, track and predict. This is essential in helping us to understand more about how our planet works and why certain events occur. It helps us to understand what we can do to mitigate situations or to deal with them better. Satellite is an integral part of any disaster management toolkit. It works on different levels, providing rich data that can be analysed and used to understand, limit damage or to manage a situation in the best way possible. It can help determine how to move aid

in and out of a disaster zone. It enables instant communication when all other lines have been destroyed. It facilitates rebuilding once a disaster has occurred. It brings medical help to those that need it. It helps to reunite families that have been torn apart. Satellite is an enabler and it has an important role to play in Australia’s future at a time when the damage that severe weather wreaks is only set to worsen.


Launched in 2018 and manufactured by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), NovaSAR-S is a small synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mission designed for low-cost programs and optimised for shared launch opportunities. An agreement, signed during the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide in 2017, provides Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) a 10% share of the tasking and data acquisition capabilities from NovaSAR-S. NovaSAR-S is a technology demonstration mission designed to complement much larger, complex radar satellites with a smaller, lighter and more cost-effective platform that delivers Earth observation synthetic aperture radar imagery day and night, and through cloud cover. Managing the energy use on-board the small SAR platform has been made possible by using a new, highly efficient S-band solid-state amplifier technology and flying an innovative S-band SAR payload developed by Airbus UK in Portsmouth.

high temperatures experienced in some regions. Satellite technology, especially EO satellites, have a great role to play in monitoring the availability of water and highlighting where there is cause for action to prevent water shortages. Satellites help our understanding of the entire water cycle process and the impact that humans have on the planet in terms of climate change. The European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Sentinel satellites, and their SMOS mission, provide key information on lakes, reservoirs and rivers so that mitigation strategies may be put into place. The Sentinel satellites feed into the wider Copernicus Land Monitoring Service. This focuses on how the land changes, use of the land, vegetation, water cycle and other points of interest.


Cyclone Idai hit Africa in March and caused devastation. It was one of the worst tropical storms to affect Africa with Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi particularly badly affected. Idai left 1,000 people dead and thousands missing. It was the third deadliest cyclone on record. Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) was

one of the very first NGOs on the scene and utilised satellite as a key part of its disaster communications portfolio. Just two days after the disaster, TSF deployed the first satellite connection in the Beira area, which was worst affected by the cyclone. This connection brought the Internet to the humanitarian groups on the ground and enabled them to coordinate their teams. Idai had knocked out the electricity grid and the telecommunications networks were severely damaged. With no need for any infrastructure, the satellite connection allowed teams to communicate their requirements and the requirements of the affected population from the disaster zone itself. Videos of the scene were shared, helping to raise awareness of the extent of the damage and, most importantly, people were able to contact loved ones. Workers were able to exchange WhatsApp messages without having to either walk or drive to a location where it was possible. In the month since the cyclone, TSF has supported more than 90 humanitarian organisations in four coordination centres, with over 775GB exchanged through TSF connections. n


Water scarcity and security is a very hot topic, especially in Australia where there is mounting concern given the extreme










What careers are available in the legal area for the space sector? Do you have any recommendations to budding space lawyers and people wanting to work in the sector? Space is becoming increasingly commercialised and every company both large and small, including universities developing cubesats for example, needs advice on space law and the relevant regulatory and licensing requirements. The requirements arising from relevant national law need to be properly understood and there is a particular need to consult and get proper legal advice, in both the narrow and broader senses, with the growth in space commercial opportunities. Essentially, without proper advice and guidance, even the best ideas may not progress due to a failure to properly meet the regulatory framework directed towards ensuring responsible behaviour. Australia is a very big place. How do you work to unite ‘Team Australia’ within space policy to take in different territories and jurisdictions?



That is quite a political question. The government recently announced that the Australian Space Agency would be formally located in Adelaide, South Australia. South Australia has been very proactive in promoting itself as an important ‘space state’ – there are a number of very interesting companies located there. However, it is also clear that some cutting-edge space activities are being undertaken in other parts of the country as well. As part of our work in the ERG, members of the expert group toured the whole country and found that there is great work going on in all of the states. In my opinion, it would be to the detriment of the space industry if it was perceived to be competitive between the states. The Australian Space Agency is working very hard to resolve any such perception and build on the great expertise that operates in virtually every state and territory, so that they can each, and the country as a whole, capitalise on these commercially and also grow a new workforce facilitating job opportunities and a vibrant R&D sector across Australia. From a personal perspective, what attracted you to the space industry? It was quite serendipitous! I have held various careers before becoming a university academic including being an actor, international lawyer and investment banker. In 1999, I went back to undertake postgraduate study, which involved taking some courses – including one called Space Law – at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. I thoroughly enjoyed this and found it not only fascinating but highly relevant commercially, strategically and

geopolitically, and it seemed to complement my international law expertise. I have written a Iot and actively promote the importance of space law and policy with my students globally – I have taught perhaps 2,000 students worldwide about the wonders of space law over the past 17 years – which provides for ever-increasing interest and momentum. It’s also really great to see things grow and to also promote notions of responsible space behaviour and stewardship among the next breed of international space lawyers and policy makers. Where are the main areas of focus for you at the moment as the Australian space sector develops? As an international lawyer I am very privileged to work in the international space arena covering research, resource exploitation and utilisation, the limitations on the military uses of outer space, space debris, national space frameworks development, small satellites, consultancy projects, the discussions at UNCOPUOS to name a few. I feel that I certainly have a job for life! Australia is a party to the Moon Agreement and, in my opinion, this represents an opportunity for the country to provide a positive role in any multilateral discussions about the way forward as regards the exploration, exploitation and utilisation of space resources. This is a very complex issue that requires careful thought as it will have long-term impacts on the way we think about and utilise space. In the end, what is key for me is to

recognise that space is complex – it is at the same time strategic, political, cultural, economic, commercial, scientific and military. It has provided so many incredible things for all of humankind and we must continue to respect the way we interact with it, if we are to have any chance of maximising the potential benefits for all of us from space. Therefore, it is vital that the regulatory and legal frameworks are such that they continue to encourage responsible behaviour and also an understanding about the importance of space to humanity – past, present and into the future. Space is unique and we must avoid making some of the mistakes there that we have made on Earth. We talk about the ‘upstream’ and the ‘downstream’ in the space industry – can you comment how the ‘downstream’ is being affected by space law? What interesting changes have occurred recently? Traditionally, international space law has been concerned with the ‘upstream’ elements of space activities, such as the exploration and use of outer space. UNCOPUOS focuses on activities in outer space and Article 6 of the Outer Space Treaty provides that states have international responsibility for their national activities in space. This may well extend to the use of data, its transmission and interpretation – but these issues are typically regulated already under national laws relating to that country’s telecommunications industry and services, broadcasting activities and other relevant areas. In a sense, international space law has not traditionally encroached onto the

‘downstream’ since it is largely covered by national law, as well as being covered by other parts of law, including export controls and those mentioned above. That said, there is a close interaction between a state’s obligations (and rights) under the space treaties and the need to properly regulate those companies and citizens under its national jurisdiction. Hence the need for countries to create (and update) their national space laws, and I have been privileged to work with the governments of many countries to help them design the most appropriate national legal and policy framework to meet their specific needs and capabilities, whilst remaining compliant with the international legal requirements. How is Australia creating an ideal regulatory environment that will allow the private space sector to thrive? As you mentioned, the Australian Government has amended our national space law very recently. Not every recommendation or suggestion offered by experts over the past few years has been incorporated into the amended legislation. However, if you look at the Australian Space Agency website, you will see that the government has made efforts to make the law more manageable, relevant, easier to understand and comply with, streamlined and less expensive to private entities. Of course, we see how it works in practice, but I am confident that, from a legislative perspective, we have made significant strides forward. The questions to which it is largely responding are the same for all countries, but the answers are different

for each respective country. A lot depends upon a country’s risk profile, its capabilities, expectations, expertise, economic position and focus. Designing a national legislative framework that is most suited to any specific country is a balancing act between implementing national obligations and encouraging responsible behaviour together with good stewardship and financial responsibility (liability) under national law on the one hand, and encouraging technology, innovation, industry and entrepreneurship, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and inspiring the nation about space on the other. It is impossible to get everything perfectly ‘right’ at the beginning, particularly with the continuing and rapidly changing technological environment and, I suspect, after a period of experience and reflection, it may become necessary in the future to consider further tinkering of the framework. But there is no doubt that we are definitely moving in the right direction, which is a very positive development. At the IAC 2018 Conference in Bremen, Germany, Megan Clark (the Australian Space Agency head) said publicly that “the Australian Space Agency is the most industry-focused space agency in the world”. The government has responded to industry needs. It is therefore clear that the further development of our indigenous space capabilities and industry – building upon and further developing the already significant expertise and cutting-edge research that we have – represents a key focus for Australia going forward.







SPACE LAW: GETTING IT RIGHT FOR AUSTRALIA Space law is a vital and sometimes overlooked part of the space industry and is becoming even more important with the rapid development of New Space, exciting exploration initiatives to the Moon and Mars and the growth in space and satellite-related services. By Helen Jameson & Raymond Stott.


magine a society without any rules – a society with no police or law enforcement. A society where people can do whatever they wish. The prospect of lawlessness on our planet is a frightening one that we know would bring about the downfall of our species. We recognise that we need rules and that we must abide by the laws of the land in order to prevent the descent into chaos and disorder. Just as we have to abide by rules here on Earth, we need to be doing the same in space. Humanity’s ambitions are becoming much more pronounced. As we face environmental challenges on Earth, the pioneers amongst us are



looking to the stars for the future. As our space activity increases, we must be able to conduct ourselves properly and fairly in space. In space, there is no ‘ownership’. Just like when renowned explorers found new worlds and staked their claim upon it, we are embarking on a similar journey, just this time it is out of this world. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), which is supported by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), provides a forum for nations to meet to discuss governance of outer space. With an increasing number of countries setting

up space agencies and hundreds of space start-ups hitting the scene, the UN helps to coordinate activity and to develop the legal framework that will support these nations in space. UNCOPUOS dates back to 1958, soon after the first artificial satellite was launched. The group initially featured 18 member nations that focused on activities in space, international cooperation and legal issues. Today, with 92 members, UNCOPUOS is one of the largest committees in the UN and also features many organisations that have been given observer status. It has two subcommittees – the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) and the Legal Subcommittee (LSC). The legal issues that the LSC addresses are becoming more complex as we look to use space in different ways. The way in which humanity uses space is evolving all the time. From the deployment of large constellations of small satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) to lunar landings, the construction of a Moon Village and asteroid mining, there are a plethora of legal issues thrown up by all of this space activity. Technology is fast-paced and it is critical that the laws that govern this kind of advancement in space are able to keep up too. Take asteroid mining as an example. There are several private companies developing the capabilities to carry out the mining of water/ice and metals from asteroids in what has the potential to be an extremely lucrative business. If an asteroid is mined, legal frameworks must be put into place that determine who owns the resources extracted as the issue of who owns what in space is far from clear. There is a great deal of concern over space debris and the potential for real damage to be done to operational satellites, and even the International Space Station (ISS) by debris of varying sizes that is moving at high velocity around the Earth. With the deployment of so many small satellites slated for the

coming two to three years alone, this could present a huge issue to space security, safety and sustainability. Speaking of security and space debris, there is also fury over the recent Indian anti-satellite tests that destroyed a satellite in orbit. This created more debris that could potentially threaten the ISS and also security in space. If a nation can do this, where does it stop? THE TREATIES THAT EXIST UNCOPUOS is the forum for the development of international space law. Five international treaties and five sets of principles are directly applicable to space activities: TREATIES  Outer Space Treaty  Rescue Agreement  Liability Convention  Registration Convention  Moon Agreement PRINCIPLES  Declaration of Legal Principles  Broadcasting Principles  Remote Sensing Principles  Nuclear Power Sources Principles  Benefits Declaration Each of the treaties stresses the notion that outer space, the activities carried out in outer space and whatever benefits might be accrued from outer space should be devoted to enhancing the wellbeing of all countries and humankind, with an emphasis on promoting international cooperation. These laws govern space-related activities for both international and, through their implementation, domestic agreements, rules and principles. Areas covered include space exploration, damage liability, weapons, search and rescue, environmental protection, information sharing and new technologies, etc. Space law also includes other branches such as export control law, intellectual property law, arms control law, insurance law, environmental law, criminal law and commercial law.

SPACE LAW AND AUSTRALIA The Australian case promoted by the recently formed Australian Space Agency is being driven by commercial opportunities. Regulation and certainty are needed to allow for a level playing field in this rapidly expanding sector. The global space market is worth US$350 billion and Australia currently has less than 1% market share. Australia can earn a significantly greater market share and so the Australian Space Agency must represent a broad group, not just entrepreneurs but also the Australian public and taxpayers, and provide a return-on-investment for the next and future generations, ensuring the sustainable uses of space that correspond to benefits and advantages for associated industries such as aviation (e.g. launch can impact and interfere negatively with airspace use) whilst respecting the international obligations for the sustainable use of space. It is a balancing act that the Australian Space Agency must promote but also regulate to allow the full commercial exploitation for Australia to ensure we carve out a niche competitive place amongst the other world space powers. Australia and space have a long history dating back to the beginnings of the space race and initially the legislation was involved around launch and large industrial organisations. The Space Activities Act 1998 is a key piece of legislation. The reason for the legislation was due to the more commercial aspects surrounding space launch opportunities and coincided with a period where the commercial spend on space started to surpass what was traditionally being done at government level. The good geography of Australia, being close to the equator for efficient launch services, sparked a new commercial interest at this time building on the developments at the famous Woomera site in South Australia, and launching Russian Zenit rockets with the Asia Pacific Space Corporation (APSC)

on Christmas Island almost literally took off. In fact, there was a joint legislative arrangement between Australia and the Russian Federation in place in 2001. The legislation was based upon the US model of ‘maximum probable loss regime’ which also influenced the insurance and licence regimes. Quite sophisticated licence regimes were developed including the sample return of cometary material by a Japanese planetary probe called Hyabusa in the Australian outback. Australia’s Optus obtained commercial geostationary (GEO) licences to launch from Kourou in French Guiana and more recently NBN, the satellite telecom operator, has secured overseas launch licences. As technology changed, and in last 5-10 years miniaturisation has dramatically affected the commercial space sector, the legislation was considered by some as no longer appropriate and needed to be adapted. The government reacted to industry with a review of the Space Activities Act 1998 in 2015. Steven Freeland, Professor of International Law at Western Sydney University, was appointed by the government to prepare a report on this review, which was submitted to government in August 2016. Further discussions with industry continued and the legislation was amended in August 2018, which will take effect in August 2019. In the same timeframe the government was looking at industry capabilities and capacities for development. Professor Freeland, along with several other experts, was involved in 2017 in this activity as an expert with the Expert Reference Group (ERG) team headed by Dr Megan Clark (now the head of the Australian Space Agency). The ERG recommended a structure and guidance for a dedicated Australian Space Agency, the establishment of which had already been foreshadowed by an announcement at the International





Astronautical Congress (IAC) held in Adelaide in 2017. In March 2018 the ERG report was submitted. Once again, the government moved forward. It was fortuitous that these two events coincided. A proposed Australian Space Agency Charter was drafted by the ERG which has formed the basis for the eventual structure of the Australian Space Agency. CURRENT HOT TOPICS IN SPACE LAW The Moon – we are looking at going back to the Moon and establishing a Moon Village. What needs to happen in terms of space law to pave the way for living and working on the Moon? Asteroid mining – there are private companies already developing the means to carry out asteroid mining. If an asteroid is mined, who owns the resources extracted and can they then sell them? Space law needs to catch up with the progress that is being made. Armaments in space – with the very fresh news that India has tested an antisatellite weapon (ASAT), where does this leave the rules that govern the peaceful use of space? Is this a very real threat? We know the capability is out there, but how do we prevent it from being used for the wrong reasons? Aspects of space law in Australia today involve the current legislation going through Parliament, liberalisation of launch licences and insurance, telecoms sector liberalisation and initiatives, and Australian Space Agency policies and initiatives. Just as we need strict rules on the Earth, they are needed in space. It is a complex environment with so many unknowns, but space law is utterly essential if we are going to carry out the ambitions that we have in space and leverage the commercial opportunities for Australia in the increasingly competitive global space sector.







PHD CANDIDATE, LAW AND MILITARY USES OF OUTER SPACE, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE lead across the whole of government. This is reflected in the civil space strategy which was recently published in early 2019. This recognised initiatives that were already in place in other government departments. However, the Australian Space Agency does not yet have a sufficiently strong mandate to take the lead in space policy across the whole of the government.

We are looking at Australia in this article in particular, which has a very young space agency. How is Australia developing its space policy? The impetus for the Australian Space Agency is largely commercial. For example, the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) in 2017 released a white paper recognising the potential market share Australia could earn and a review of space industry capability, recommending that the government should aim to triple the size of the Australian space economy by 2030. The space policy structure is based upon history and there is a need for coordination across government. There is a split between the Australian Space Agency and the Department of Defence (DOD), defence being covered separately. Australia is not large enough to sustain the space opportunities by itself and there is a need for cooperation between the Defence, commercial and civil sectors. There is a formal separation, but there is also coordination and cooperation. The Australian Space Agency is nested in the Department of Industry (DOI) but does not yet have a strong mandate to

How is the New Space movement affecting space law? Are countries overhauling their laws due to the increasing number of private companies becoming involved? Yes, absolutely! The current Space Activities Act 1998 was drafted for big contracts involving big satellite operators and large commercial companies. This will be replaced by laws in August this year. By way of example, insurance for launch is currently set at $750 million (unless a company can establish a lower maximum probable loss) and the companies wanting to launch nowadays have opportunities worldwide, but do not have big pockets, so the new legislation lowers this insurance premium to $100 million. A high set figure is not the way to open up this lucrative market. The government has decided to change the subordinate legislation. Whereas the regulations previously needed to be approved by the Governor General, now rules only need to be approved by a Minister and therefore the process is more agile. New legislation and rules will allow for broader discretion for public officials and flexibility and agility so regulators can adapt to support the growing space

industry. With discretion there comes less certainty, so it is a difficult balancing act. How do you create space law that facilitates a level playing field for all involved as well as lowering barriers to entry? This is a tough question. The prospect of new instruments with global consensus is very unlikely and very challenging. There are many industry initiatives, for example the US and Luxembourg have recently passed laws for rights concerning asteroids, but these are not recognised elsewhere in the world. The UN Long Term Sustainability of Space Guidelines are a great initiative, but they are a compromise between different states. NASA and ESA are quite progressive on standards and the licensing is in place, which is good, but there is not a level playing field for all countries and organisations. Everyone needs to act responsibly, but as soon as one country gets a commercial advantage it is very difficult to resist the commercial temptation to take the same ‘shortcut’. Informal efforts are the best way forward to consolidate and recognise the standards. With talk of a Moon Village, asteroid mining and events such as the recent anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) incident, is space law becoming increasing complex? How do you legislate for these kinds of activities and events as this involves many nations and many facets of space activity? Yes, it is becoming more complex. The Outer Space Treaty is sparse regarding frameworks. The broad principles are

covered, such as mutual cooperation and space cooperation, but they need to be given substance. For example, in respect of the principle of ‘due regard’ in Article 9 of the Outer Space Treaty, this has a strong connection and heritage with the concept of ‘due diligence’, which can be given substance in standards applied by different states. Other areas of law such as international law, environmental law, humanitarian law, air law, conflict law and trade law also need to be incorporated into space law. Where are the main areas of focus for you at the moment as the Australian space sector develops? My focus is on the Space Launches and Returns Act in 2018 which takes effect on 31 August 2019. This framework legislation has sparse detail, for example: what fees will the Australian Space Agency charge for rocket launches from Australian territory? Currently the Department of Finance requires the Space Agency to apply a full cost recovery model to its work in assessing applications submitted by space entrepreneurs and analysing the risks posed by their activities. There is a consultation going on right now to review the proposed fees. If the proposed fees (in the hundreds of thousands of dollars) do prevail, then Australia will be at a disadvantage with respect to the fees charged in the rest of the world. This will be an important learning period for the Australian Space Agency, since the analysis for an application is very involved and obviously the agency will improve this process over time.

Another area that is completely new is the specific reference to a ‘space debris mitigation strategy’ which is an important issue for future space policy. The Australian Space Agency is drafting new rules in this important area to minimise future space debris. Another focus for me is rockets that fly to less than 100km. For these and other high power rockets, the Australian Space Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority need to be coordinated. The way in which the Australian Space Agency works with other government agencies also needs better coordination. For example, currently the CSIRO could, in theory, launch a satellite without any reference to the Australian Space Agency. What careers are available in the legal area for the space sector? Do you have any recommendations to budding space lawyers and people wanting to work in the space sector? In Australia there are a lot of space startups. As the space industry develops it can then hire and engage with professional services. There is not a large demand for professional services now, but this will develop as the industry grows and matures. I am the project manager for the ANGELS Project (Australian Navigational Guide Explaining Laws for Space) in which students from the University of Adelaide are developing a website to help Australian space entrepreneurs to navigate the legal and regulatory framework applicable to their space activities. A good way to get into space law is to join the Australia New Zealand Space Law Interest Group (ANZSLIG). I chair an approximately monthly meeting of this group. n







RECRUITMENT AND CAREERS: WHAT IS A SPACE JOB? What is a space job? The answer is not only an astronaut and we need to empower the youth of today with clear information on the opportunities in the space sector so they can make the right career decisions at the right time. By Helen Jameson & Raymond Stott.


ustralia is at a crossroads in not only providing the talent for the bold strategy and objectives recently announced by the Australian Space Agency and the current needs



of the existing space industry, but also to ensure the future pipeline of the right talent to be competitive on the world stage. Recruitment in the space sector is important for Australia due to the competition for talent worldwide. Companies and recruiters face unique challenges to fulfil the full potential and growth forecasts for the space economy. The exciting opportunities for ‘space careers’ should be explained, alongside STEM and the focus on academic performance. The industry is worth US$400 billion globally and generates employment for engineers, mathematicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, doctors and even lawyers who are working on the liberalisation of the regulatory regime covering space activities.


There is renewed interest in the space

sector with much innovation around ‘New Space’ and new products and services for a data-demanding public, which is exciting both the investment communities and governments alike. In fact, we are fortunate to have two parallel developments: one being driven by the commercial sector and the other by governments with recent announcements by NASA of a landing on the Moon within five years and the interest in Mars human exploration also very close at hand due to the amazing, revolutionary developments by SpaceX in the US. The demand for talent is and will be huge. A new ‘space race’ is already underway and countries are dependent upon the right talent being available at the right time to achieve their goals. There is already a talent gap which is growing in these key space-faring nations and this needs to be addressed

to avoid a large risk developing for these countries both now and in the medium term. One million people are employed in the space industry in the world today, with the Australian space industry’s economic output being about US$4 billion (equating to 1% of the global space sector) and employing a space workforce of about 10,000. The Australian Space Agency will significantly increase employment in the future and significant contributions are being made by the universities and R&D institutions. As a comparison, the Canadian Space Agency, set up in 1990, captured 2% of the global space market and has a space workforce in the order of 25,000. The sector provides amazing jobs growth at six times the national rate and other new job opportunities are being created as space capabilities transform existing industries. Even with the highly skilled graduates competing for the New Space economy jobs in the many smaller start-ups, the space industry will need much more to keep up with the demand. The right skills of this new workforce are critical for the success of the space industry moving forward. Competition for this talent is high, challenging the traditional recruiting methods in both the civil and defence sectors. This comes at a time when experienced engineers are retiring and leaving the workforce and the knowledge transfer to the younger generation is not occurring, while there continues to be fast-paced innovation in the sector.


A plan and strategy to answer these problems should be developed to maintain and grow Australia’s position in the global space industry marketplace. The hiring processes need to be reviewed and adapted to the changing needs and conditions of today and the movement of talent between the civil

and defence sectors should be actively promoted to be made easier and faster to capitalise on the knowledge transfer. Companies need not only attract but also train and retain talent. The global marketplace will make it increasingly difficult to retain good talent. Creative ways of attracting new talent are needed, especially with the opportunities the internet provides for space-related career events, hackathons, job boards, podcasts, training, etc. The challenge that Australia’s geography places for people to travel quickly, cheaply and easily around the country can be mitigated by coordinating online participation from all corners of the Australian states to encourage engagement from the population in both the cities and rural areas. The expected significant growth of the space ‘downstream’ (applications in products and services based upon space and satellite data) will fuel the opportunities for jobs in Australia, in particular given Australia’s unique geography and location in the world. The ‘upstream’ areas of space, launcher and ground segments will also see growth and Australia will develop niche areas, for example in the growth of spaceports, domestic small satellite launchers and satellite manufacturing capabilities. A complete supply chain

can be developed for space, enhancing Australia’s position in the critical civil and defence global markets. One area that is growing very fast is the geospatial and GIS sectors (geospatial information system – a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage and present spatial or geographic data). Due to digitalisation, geospatial technology is becoming mainstream, impacting every aspect of our daily lives including agriculture, infrastructure building and transportation, leading to it being one of the hottest job skills that companies are looking for in their future employees. Robotics and automation are other desired industry jobs and these can be equally applied to the space sector. Geospatial technology facilitates better understanding between people and their environment with the data having a spatial or location-based component. Large-scale problems can be looked at such as disease control, city planning, market intelligence, product management and marketing. The increasing demand for geospatial data is leading to the growth of geospatial companies and attracting fresh talent. The applications are very broad, from wildlife conservation and disaster mitigation to defence.







in Australia for the opportunities to compete in these exciting times.



Pivoting to involve ‘space’ in many jobs has not yet occurred in Australia and this will be needed in the short term so Australia can capitalise on the substantial growth opportunities to build the nation’s capability and prosperity.


Australia is a world leader in mining, for example, and industrial companies making mining equipment may have applications off the Earth on the Moon, Mars and asteroids. The construction industry is ripe for the coming revolution in robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing which can all be applied to offworld scenarios, growing a highly skilled space workforce. As these industries pivot, the corresponding labour market will follow. Another great initiative and example of jobs growth and training opportunities in the space sector is the National Space Innovation Hub (NSIH), set up by founder and CEO Aria Colton and developed to create, capture and add value working with the Australian Space Agency and industry. Its motto is “Let’s ignite imaginations, inspire



innovation and build our capability”. The NSIH provides a strategic, inclusive, integrated focal point to facilitate collaboration between industry, research institutions and government to meet market demand from the end-users of space innovation. The customers are the end-users from industry sectors such as agriculture, renewable energies, medtech, health and wellness, telecommunications, mining, transport, disaster management, water management and many others. It is important that the Australian Government continues its focus on the right regulatory environment to stimulate the space sector and broaden the opportunities for businesses to grow. The role of government and the Australian Space Agency is critical to help drive innovation and attract the right talent. Good communication between the various stakeholders is needed to capitalise on the strategies that Australia is promoting and following to compete on the world stage. This will help fuel job growth. The role of education in space needs to support this new economy not just for engineering talent but also in

the many other fields of management, medicine, construction, biology, science, etc. The right training and education are critical for this growth and the development of the right skills for industry is important – for example working with composites, 3D printing, coding and software to name a few. The development of apprenticeships for the right manufacturing talent needed by the space industry and the attraction of good salaries for these skills will drive the growth forward and reduce any potential skills gap in the ‘midcareer’ workforce. Training is fundamentally important for start-ups to keep competitive and the way the workforce interrelates and works together is crucial. Space is complex and a ‘team’ approach to knowledge transfer within an organisation is important to develop the right working environment and cross-functional skills, allowing the company to grow. Countries such as China, India, US, Russia, UK and in Europe are competing to become the leaders in this new ‘space race’ and it is important to engage with the general public to raise the awareness

Some of the current recruitment issues facing Australia are listed below:  How do people find space jobs?  Domestic talent  Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)  Career paths and advice  Salary and benefits package  Staff retention  International mobility  International talent attraction  Competition for Australian and global talent  Recruitment options  Time/money/resources for recruitment  Well written, interesting job descriptions  Australian attractors (work/life balance, education system, health system)  Australian cost of living  Accommodation assistance  Barriers to growth (visa, security clearance, speed of attracting global talent compared to other countries and various ‘fast-track’ systems)  Online/remote working/’threemonth business trip’ opportunities Space career events and conferences  Hot jobs


 Cyber security  Engineering (RF engineering, avionics, computing, materials engineering, robotics, telecommunications)  Testing, including key technician roles  Space science  Software development  Manufacturing engineering and assembly, integration & test (AIT)  Geospatial engineering  Space law


The federal government and the various states recognise the importance of assistance in stimulating the space start-up sector, for example space entrepreneurs can apply to the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) for scholarships of up to $20,000 to help launch their careers in the burgeoning space sector. $100,000 worth of scholarships are being provided through the four-year Space Scholarship Program. SASIC Chief Executive Richard Price says: “South Australia is the nation’s space industry capital and we are excited about the possibilities a dedicated space agency will offer aspiring space entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists in this industry of the future. Growing the future space workforce and cultivating the next generation of leaders to ensure the continued success of South Australia’s space industry is a key priority. The Space Scholarship Program will equip our brightest minds with the skills, knowledge and passion to forge meaningful careers in space and carry on our ambitions for South Australia to be a leader in space.” Other initiatives include the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies scholarships. South Australian students with an interest in space can apply for scholarships worth $13,500 each to participate in the highly regarded International Space University’s (ISU) Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program at the University of South Australia in 2019. The state government, through SASIC, provides a total of five scholarships for South Australians to participate in the intensive five-week, live-in summer school program and gain valuable skills to forge a career in the high-tech space industry. Price says: “The scholarships provide a terrific stepping-stone for five South Australians to get a foothold in the

lucrative space industry. This is an exciting opportunity for some of our brightest young minds to gain the essential skills needed to forge a career in the growing space industry. We are committed to encouraging entrepreneurship and inspiring young people to pursue careers in space as we look to grow Australia’s share of this lucrative industry. There is so much happening in the space industry in Australia at the moment and we are creating opportunities in this exciting industry that can start right here in South Australia. We are continuing to build on our industrial and academic strengths, and our success in research and development to demonstrate why South Australia is a key player in this industry.” There is also a space work experience program provided by SASIC to inspire students to shoot for the stars. It gives students in years 10, 11 and 12 the chance to undertake short-term placements during the school holidays at selected local space companies, where they can learn more about the exciting opportunities across the high-tech and high-growth industry, set to boom across the state now that the Australian Space Agency is based in Adelaide. Premier Steven Marshall says the program gives students invaluable insights into the local companies now driving growth across the space industry nationwide. “South Australia now has such a vibrant and thriving space ecosystem, with the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat CRC, Mission Control and Space Discovery Centre all housed in Adelaide. Building a skilled space workforce is crucial. We need to encourage students to take up STEMrelated careers and we need to ensure graduates take full advantage of the exciting jobs that will be created from these incredible opportunities we’ve attracted to our state.”








MARK RAMSEY GENERAL MANAGER, SITAEL AUSTRALIA I understand that you are focused on the small satellite market in Australia. Could you explain more about this?

What are your current plans for Sitael Australia? Sitael is a global company and Sitael Australia – based in Adelaide, South Australia – is focused on building small satellites in the 50-300kg range. This is a key global market segment of the burgeoning New Space economy and Sitael Australia helps grow our presence in the Asia Pacific market. How does Sitael Australia fit into the portfolio of products and services with your parent company Sitael in Italy? In Australia we have deep access to our European technology developed over nearly 25 years, therefore we have a great competitive advantage in spacecraft avionics, electric propulsion and small satellites. Australian customers have unique requirements and we can match existing technology and develop new technology to present a holistic offering. There is a strong push to develop Australian space industrial capability and Sitael can help the country leapfrog into the small satellite market rapidly. 94


We are looking across the space value chain in developing products and services for turnkey missions and looking for partnering opportunities, particularly in the instrument area. Key areas include in-orbit demonstration and verification (IOD & IOV) and flying cutting edge technology in space. Through aggregating multiple small technology payloads onto a slightly larger spacecraft, space, weight, power and pointing can all be significantly improved without the constraints of the cubesat format. We are also looking at the Earth observation (EO) and small satellite constellation markets, providing niche tailored support in areas such as optical, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and multispectral as well as new applications for satellite communications in Australia. What timeframes are we talking about for your projects, programs, products and services? A typical build to delivery of a small satellite takes one to two years – mainly related to the customer type and specification. We are typically working with government and institutions with complex requirements, which have more comprehensive design and testing requirements. Commercial cycles can be a lot quicker for delivering off-theshelf technology. In Australia we have significant lessons learned from our parent company on both Italian and European programs and we plan to invest in an Australian factory to meet customer demands. Our

Australian factory can be built relatively quickly, with recent company experience setting up factories in Europe. We are currently in business development mode and we intend to expand into operations and facilities soon. We have a unique capability for this size of spacecraft (50300kg mass range), which can be a very attractive platform size for Australian sovereign capability. Testing facilities do currently exist in Australia. For example, in Canberra, ACT there are already fantastic assembly, integration and test (AIT) facilities available for testing satellites. We will consider investment in new test facilities should demand require it, but leverage existing capabilities where we can. Our involvement in the SmartSat CRC may also present some exciting opportunities for collaboration. Mass production of spacecraft would require different facilities, and we would consider that scenario should the local need arise. Sitael has the ability to build thermal vacuum chambers (TVAC) in Italy and we are well placed for electric propulsion and testing in TVAC of these critical spacecraft subsystems and components. We consider it good practice to connect the spacecraft designers with the assembly, integration and test teams and we have this capability in-house. Automation could be used in future satellite production, and is becoming increasingly important in the market. We aim to have satellite production facilities that are cutting-edge for both the civil and defence markets. Our biggest cost in the space sector is our people! That is why recruiting, retaining and developing our space talent is critical for our business success at Sitael Australia.

Do you intend to employ new staff soon? If so, what roles are typically needed? We are currently looking for spacecraft systems engineers. In future we will be looking for electrical and software engineers to work on complex spacecraft design work and technical solutions for our customers involved in all aspects from the design, AIT phases through to delivery to the customer. You are based in Adelaide. What attracted you to set up in South Australia? Originally Sitael had been part of the IAC2017 Space Conference in Adelaide, and we actively looked at the market and the region. After subsequent market surveys and visits, we decided that Australia had significant market potential and a good resource base, and chose Adelaide for our headquarters. The South Australian Government was instrumental in attracting Sitael to Australia and it is a good place to be and engage with the space and technical ecosystems. South Australia has the headquarters of the SmartSat CRC, the Australian Space Agency and many defence organisations, and the availability of technical talent as well as being a great city; these sealed our decision to move to Adelaide. There has been a lot of gravitas with the Space Agency HQ announcement, and the investment, legal and technology communities locally are very interested in the space sector. Adelaide is becoming similar to other global space communities like Harwell in the UK, as well as Colorado and San Francisco in the US. Young people are now seeing ‘space’

as a career option and in the medium and long terms space will reshape the labour supply in Adelaide. A new ‘space’ ecosystem is forming and there is now a ‘flag in the ground’ and a lot of companies are setting up and/or relocating to Adelaide. Is staff training important to your business? If so, what training is needed to keep your company competitive? We generally employ technical, degreequalified staff and our challenge is to keep providing opportunities for them to grow professionally with new space missions. The space market is changing at a fast technology pace – effectively our staff have to keep re-inventing themselves every 5-10 years! From our Australian perspective, we can develop and tap into European programs as well as providing internal mobility opportunities for our staff, adding significant value with people gaining additional commercial, technical and multicultural experience. Do you have any connections with universities for R&D or other applications? If so, are they in SA and also the rest of Australia? Yes, the University of South Australia were very helpful originally hosting Sitael. They took the lead in the SmartSat CRC and have shown strong leadership in this regard. We have active discussions with a range of universities both in SA and across Australia, and are working on some exciting collaboration opportunities which are yet to be announced. Please highlight some aspects of your own career and why you are in

Australia from a personal perspective. My professional career has been in both Australia and Europe (for a number of years) and I moved back to Australia for family reasons. Space is finally taking off in Australia, and I have been very lucky to be in the right place at the right time! The space community locally and Space Industry Association of Australia (of which I am a director) have been working very hard for this outcome for a long time and those in the Australian space industry are incredibly passionate, which translates to a very dynamic working environment. I am currently finishing my MBA to complement my technical background, and spending more time focusing on the business side of the house with Sitael Australia, which is an exciting opportunity for me personally. Finally, do you have any recommendations for people wanting to get into the space business? For Australians, more than anything, my advice is to engage in the sector: get to events, join forums, join associations, attend conferences and participate in short courses on space. Be part of the conversation and learn from the inside about the industry. The space industry is changing and there are increasingly communities based around human physiology, project management and the legal aspects of space, in addition to the traditional technical streams. Things that were not possible even five years ago are now exciting opportunities ahead of us. It is not only the ‘upstream’ but increasingly the ‘downstream’ that is offering job opportunities. I recommend people to go and meet, engage and get involved. n AUSTRALIAN SPACE OUTLOOK 2019








Australia’s renaissance in its space sector is part of a wider, global movement called New Space. But what is New Space and what effect is it having on Australia’s developing space industry? By Helen Jameson & Raymond Stott.




e talk about a coming of age for the Australian space sector, but space is not a new thing to this continent. Australia’s space heritage goes way back to the 1950s, and since then the space sector has quietly and diligently worked away at developing itself. Let us not forget that Australia was the seventh nation to launch a satellite, in 1967. Space runs deep here, but just recently, this ambition has been boosted and Australians are embarking on the start of a new chapter in their space story. This new chapter is underpinned by a movement that is sweeping the global

space industry known as ‘New Space’. What is the definition of New Space? It is not an easy question to answer as it encompasses so many different facets. New Space fundamentally represents a new approach to space. It is making space more accessible and is therefore giving more nations, more groups, more individuals the opportunity to participate in space programs. New Space is the opening up of the final frontier using cost-effective, faster-todevelop technology, and launchers that promise cheaper rides to space. This re-invigoration of the industry is inspiring nations in both developed and

developing regions of the world to look at space differently. Space is no longer just for the few, but for the many. This is the era of the commercial space sector.


New Space opens up innovation for applications that as yet have not been realised, and there are many sectors that are not yet benefiting as they should from the communications, information and analytics that can be reaped from satellite technology. The upstream represents those companies presently engaged in the space sector, including satellite and equipment manufacturers and operators as well as launch service providers, ground segment manufacturers and solutions providers. The downstream represents companies that utilise space and satellite technology such as Earth observation (EO), which is growing exponentially in popularity. There is a plethora of companies that benefit from this type of data; from town and city planning departments, agriculture and farming, telecommunications, government and the military, meteorological organisations and the maritime sector to name a few. This list is set to grow as new products are derived from satellite data, boosting employment and prosperity as well as introducing services and products that can make huge differences to the businesses and organisations that use them.


In the past decade, there has been a shift from government-led space projects to commercial space projects where private companies are taking the lead. In the past, space has been the preserve of those governments who could afford it. Dominated by the US, Russia and China, government-led

programs have been roundly criticised for their slow-moving space missions that fall behind budget and lag in terms of timescales. The advent of commercial space has transformed this, with rapid design, development and manufacturing phases. The commercial small satellite sector is also experiencing a boom, with an abundance of constellations planned and some undergoing execution. OneWeb has already begun deployment of its planned 900 small satellites that will deliver broadband services to remote areas. Small satellites have driven costs down. Cheaper to manufacture and launch, they are a key part of the New Space industry, as are new launchers that feature innovation in terms of propulsion and 3D printing, for example. But what is happening in Australia?

"New Space is the opening up of the final frontier using cost-effective, fasterto-develop technology, and launchers that promise cheaper rides to space." Aria Colton is the Founder of the National Space Innovation Hub™ (NSIH), which is an organisation that brings industry players together to advance the Australian space industry. “Given the way that we are going with Space 4.0 and Industry 4.0, the time is right for an industry-led activity such as the NSIH™,” she explains. “I realised that we (as an emerging industry) need to be industry-led and industry-focused, in partnership with government and academia – as this best leverages the business drivers. It is industry and research who see, explore and adapt space tech and learnings for terrestrial application.” With the establishment of the longed-for Australian Space Agency and other important bodies to propel

the industry forward, the stage is set for New Space in Australia. “Governments have a key role to play in the innovation process but they are not the actual innovators,” says Colton. “The reach and scale they have create opportunities for innovation – their role is to enable and provide the incentives to encourage innovation in the private sector.”


Australia’s extensive history in the space industry has helped the country to become a leader in several areas. Australia’s location alone offers a natural advantage for the establishment of ground stations, radio telescopes, space debris tracking and launch facilities. It also is home to a mature satellite communications industry with leading players in the region such as Optus. It is a leader in the development of products and services from space-derived data and is also a pioneer in hyperspectral imaging and laser ranging. With a strong research sector, Australia excels in astronomy, adaptive optics, space physics, plasma propulsion, hypersonics, quantum cryptography and astrobiology. With this rich heritage, Australia has the ecosystem and innovation to make a significant mark in New Space. “There’s a lot of energy and buzz about,” says Alice Gorman, Deputy Chair, SIAA (Space Industry Association of Australia). “My observation is that the potential for space-applicable research and business is becoming much more visible, and a wider group of people are interested. They don’t all come from the more established aerospace sector; in the last year I’ve spoken to people developing food for crewed missions, health professionals working on the physical challenges of human spaceflight, students planning for a career in space law and others looking at innovative uses for spatial data.”







"Governments have a key role to play in the innovation process but they are not the actual innovators. The reach and scale they have create opportunities for innovation – their role is to enable and provide the incentives to encourage innovation in the private sector.” COOPERATION IS KEY

With such a young space agency in place, Australia is also seeking to cooperate with other countries around the world to enable it to leapfrog stages in its development and to encourage knowledge transfer from nations that have already forged a path in space. This strategy offers valuable insight into how best to accelerate Australia’s space sector and how to lay out the correct regulatory framework to achieve this. The Australian Space Agency has pledged to create a $12 billion space industry, generating an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030, with considerable R&D investment. Four months after the agency was established, in October 2018, memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed with the Canadian Space Agency and the UK Space Agency. “Forging international partnerships is vital to building Australia’s space



industry and ensuring our businesses can compete on the world stage,” Minister Karen Andrews said. “These agreements with counterpart space agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom will increase opportunities to work together and share information, technology and personnel between our nations. They represent a significant step in Australia’s journey with fellow spacefaring nations and will help to grow the capability and competitiveness of our domestic space sector.” The SmartSat CRC, led by the University of South Australia and Nova Systems, has also been set up to position Australia as a future leader in the global space industry. With 74 participants that will contribute $167 million to the federal government’s $55 million spend, the CRC will see Australia enabling the acceleration of its sovereign space industry, creating jobs and opportunities, retaining talent within the country and

strengthening the economy. The CRC will deliver smart satellite systems that are designed, owned and operated by Australian companies and that will deliver essential services such as real-time connectivity, surveillance and sensing capability over land and sea, EO data to monitor climate change and that will encourage the growth of Internet of Things (IoT). “The SmartSat CRC is looking at ways to break the mould on traditional satellite hardware, software and operation,” adds Gorman. “We need more data from the southern hemisphere to contribute to Earth observation and space traffic management. “The famed ‘tyranny of distance’, which Geoffrey Blainey argued shaped Australian identity, has a technological component too. There’s the potential to revolutionise primary industry using satellite sensors and data, and to start supplying data to the rest of the world instead of being merely a consumer.” Interestingly, the partnership has encouraged interest and investment from foreign companies keen to set up shop in Australia due to its location and attractiveness as an emerging space hub. UK-based Goonhilly Earth Station has become a partner of the Australian Space Agency through its involvement with the SmartSat CRC and the company will work with the agency to create new opportunities in the space economy in Australia, the UK and further afield. Goonhilly also plans to support and develop Australia’s deep space communication assets and intends to invest in further assets and infrastructure in the country. Australia boasts a vibrant and rapidly expanding New Space industry that is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Though it is still early days, supported by government and with the correct frameworks in place, Australia faces a bright future enabling it to address its own challenges using its own space technology.


Saber Astronautics’ website introduces the company simply by stating: ‘Our Mission is to reduce the barriers to entry to space by making spaceflight so easy your kids can use it.’ The company’s aim is to make spaceflight more accessible and Saber has brought together a highly experienced team in order to make this happen, taking talent from projects such as the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Space Station and the United States Army and Air Force Space Command. The company has dual locations, in Boulder, Colorado and Sydney, known as ‘Daywatch’ and ‘Nightwatch’, respectively. Saber has developed P.I.G.I. or Predictive Groundstation Project which is next-generation mission control software that takes the latest techniques in human, AI and dynamic 3D data visualisation to make is easier for spacecraft operators to fly, monitor and diagnose faults on board their assets. Saber provides a complete solution that takes its customers through constellation design to operations considering critical points of their business case.


The brainchild of Dr Paddy Neumann, an alumni of the University of Sydney, Neumann Space specialises in the development of propulsion systems

and specifically focuses on cubesats which currently have no propulsion to manoeuvre. A propulsion system can enable cubesats to reach their intended orbit without having to find a specific rideshare to get them there and also to help with collision avoidance and endof-life disposal. The Neumann Drive system is based upon a pulsed cathodic arc thruster which works on a similar principle to a welding torch. The system turns a block of material, in this case metal, into plasma, which is then utilised to generate thrust. Neumann would like to see the thruster recycle space junk for fuel, as it can use any kind of metal. Debris is readily available in the near-Earth environment and the system could potentially help to counter the effect of space debris, which is a cause for great concern amongst the space community.

Neumann Space is a founding member of the SmartSat CRC.


Founded in 2015 and rooted in the University of South Australia’s Institute for Telecommunications Research, Myriota is dedicated to delivering IoT solutions for the agricultural, oil and gas, mining, environmental monitoring and defence sectors using low-cost, low-power satellite technology. Myriota’s technology is built upon the outcomes of the Australian Space Research Program’s Global Sensor Network project. Its constellation of LEO nanosatellites connects to Myriota’s ‘modules’ which may be placed anywhere on the Earth’s surface. The messages are then processed by software in the cloud and the data can then be accessed by customers no matter where they may be. Myriota is providing solutions to a plethora of industries. For example, Myriota’s technology allows farmers to monitor livestock water supply. As water scarcity of one of Australia’s biggest challenges, this is critical information that has in the past been difficult or too costly to access. It is just one illustration of how Myriota (and satellite solutions) delivers real-life, tangible benefits. n








CARLEY SCOTT CEO, EQUATORIAL LAUNCH AUSTRALIA (ELA) vertical launch and then later offering horizontal launch capabilities. We have opportunities in domestic launch operations, international launch operations, satellite operations and testing, space sciences, space education, avenues for broader education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and support for government space-related activities. What applications will these satellites serve?

What is the history and what are your current plans for ELA? ELA was founded in 2015 in Canberra, ACT, by our founder Scott Wallis who has 30 years’ space defence expertise, including high altitude rocket trials and a strategic insight into the Australian space utilisation and market trends. In 2015 the concept of why northern Australia would be good to offer both Australian and international clients unique launch capacity close to the equator was studied closely. The launch site development is located near Nhulunbuy in East Arnhem Land, in partnership with the local community and stakeholders. I came on board one year ago and NASA visited the site in 2016 and produced two reports on the launch opportunities. ELA is developing a commercial spaceport in the Northern Territory. We intend to activate the site this year with a demonstration launch and offer suborbital launches in 2020. The timeline



is based upon approvals from the regulators and we are following a stepby-step process, growing from smaller to larger launch vehicles. We are pleased to announce our first customer launch with NASA. I understand that you are focused on the small satellite and cubesat markets in Australia. Could you explain more about this? Our starting point is with the small launcher market, initially with sounding rockets. We will work with an increasingly diverse range of fuels and larger rockets going forward. We are targeting customers in the commercial markets for satellite launch to low Earth orbit (LEO) with a range of azimuth options to launch over the poles and to a wide range of angles eastward. Our concept is to offer a range of different technologies for both today and tomorrow focusing initially on

A wide variety including telecommunications, Earth observation and connectivity covering the commercial, defence and government sectors. How do you compare your launch opportunities to the other launch sites around the world and the increasing number of new spaceports? Our unique selling proposition is our low risk profile for a range of launches, offering a low population density and we face eastward with 500km of free unpopulated area, located close to the equator and the key advantage being the gravity spin assist into LEO or GEO. We are particularly well placed to serve Southeast Asia and benefit from great efficiencies and offer good international trade relations. Our geography and location offer good, stable weather and Australia is a trusted nation in the geopolitical and financial climates. How has the space law and legislation for launches including insurance and licences affected your business to set up the launch site in Australia?

Licences and regulations are a hot topic at the moment, and it is always at the forefront of our minds at work. We are extremely aware of pricing points suggested by the federal government and the need to be competitive internationally. It is heartening to see the regulations for launch enacted and fantastic to see the Australian Space Agency involved in enacting the legislation for launch licences. Both cost-effectiveness and efficiency in the regulations are needed to transact and launch.

spaceport services and launch functionalities and satellite integration. We will grow step by step, being lean and growing accordingly based upon customer demand since we see a lot of interest in the connectivity of devices, commercial sector for satellite launches, Earth observation and global positioning systems, or GPS.

How does Southern Launch in SA affect your business? Is it a competitor or does it complement your business?

Australia has a strong history in space that is sometimes forgotten, dating back to 1958 and the ‘UN peaceful uses of space’ declaration. We have of course the Parkes radio telescope in 1961 and the ELDO launcher tracking station in 1964 with tracking in East Arnhem Land. We have fantastic education facilities and great skills in the nation, for example, where we intend to focus on Australian precision, navigation and timing (PNT), Earth observation and leapfrog technologies similar to what we have done in the past in the space domain. It is well understood that Australia is ideally positioned for international and trading relationships for good commercial growth in the future.

We are very glad to see them develop in South Australia; in fact Southern Launch is complementary to our business and we can work together to offer customers two launch sites in both north and south Australia. We are also part of a global spaceport alliance and work collaboratively for different clients. We also offer a range of spaceports, for example we are in contact with Spaceport Cornwall in the UK. How many people work at ELA? Do you intend to employ new staff soon? If yes, what roles are typically needed? We are small at the moment since we are in the early stage with fewer than 10 employees. In the future we will expand with people both direct/indirect in areas such as administration, launch site development and management,

What sets Australia apart in the global space commercial world? What unique offering is Australia able to capitalise on?

Do you offer internships/ apprenticeships/traineeships? Not now, but we will in the future. Do you have any connections with universities for R&D or other applications? If so, are they in NT and also the whole of Australia?

We have great education and research connections across Australia and internationally. We are active on the CSIRO advanced manufacturing advisory committee. What challenges do you see ahead in the short and medium terms? The regulatory structure – launch development is facilitating commercial launch for the first time and even though there are significant hurdles to overcome the Australian Space Agency really helps in this area. What is your view of Rocket Lab and your ANZAC colleagues? We are impressed to see how enthusiastically they worked with their New Zealand Space Agency and the potential for what can be done. We believe that this will inspire people that this is also real for Australia, promoting and facilitating STEM and education and jobs creation. In particular the launch vehicle development sparks the imagination of what is possible in space. Finally, do you have any recommendations for people wanting to get into the space business? So many people ask me how to get into space! Build your skills and interest naturally and see how to apply them and then see how to apply them in a broad range of applications and opportunities. It is important to remind people that they need to find their passion and how that can benefit the space sector. n







LESSONS LEARNED FOR THE AUSTRALIAN SPACE INDUSTRY FROM THE UK & CANADA Australia can benefit from looking at the recent space activities of both the UK and Canada at industry, government and agency levels. How can Australia compete globally in this highly competitive commercial space sector market and establish itself as a key player? And how does the recent global interest in spaceports affect Australia and what new developments are happening Down Under? By Helen Jameson & Raymond Stott.


t is interesting to compare and contrast the space activities in recent years of both Canada and the UK to the current situation in Australia and the recent formation of the Australian Space Agency.


In Canada, significant progress and development in robotics has become well known worldwide due to the Canadians cleverly placing their flag on the first Canadarm on the Space Shuttle so that the world saw the Canadian flag



centre-stage when the payload doors first opened. Since then, every time the robot arm has been mounted for subsequent shuttle flights it has been a PR coup of the first order. The return on investment for that flag is immeasurable. The Canadians have continued this success with their other robotic elements including the most recent dexterous robot called SPDM/DEXTRE currently working with the Canadarm2 on the ISS. The public awareness generated by this clever exposure of their space activities for a certain monetary interest

has brought many dividends in the following years. The space robotics even feature on their $5 banknote and is fast becoming a well-recognised part of Canadian culture. The Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is famous all over the world due to his amazing connection with the public and his clever and innovative use of social media while spending six months on the ISS culminating in the amazing ‘Space Oddity’ video of him singing and playing guitar, which gives new life and meaning to that phrase ‘This is Ground Control to Major Tom’. This is another occasion where public awareness and clever exposure have helped create further interest in the Canadian space efforts. The Canadians faced a similar issue to Australia with the limited but relevant funding for their space agency, or CSA, covering all aspects of space activities ranging from astronauts, radar and scientific satellites to telecommunications, satellite payloads, space exploration and Earth observation, to name a few. The

key challenge was ‘what bang for the Canadian dollar was possible’? The situation is similar for Australia now, where there are funds available supporting the strategic objectives in the key areas identified by the newly formed Australian Space Agency for the development and growth of the space sector; however, these dollars need to be spent carefully to generate and stimulate industry whilst providing short-, mediumand long-term returns. In fact, there are other sources of space funding available through government arrangements that can be capitalised on to facilitate growth of the government, defence and civil space sectors. Crossfertilisation of ideas between the civil and defence sectors – the so-called ‘dual use’ capabilities – should be cleverly leveraged to get the best return from the exciting developments in the small satellite sector as well as the increasing potential for independent secure access to space that will come on-stream soon from the two spaceports under development: Southern Launch in South Australia and Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) in the Northern Territory.


The UK has seen a similar and increasingly more focused commercial exploitation of space, in particular in the development of ‘downstream’ space and satellite services such as Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and connectivity, geospatial applications and weather to name a few. The successive long-term planning spanning many UK governments and the investment in space has brought many benefits and created a burgeoning space sector not only in the ‘downstream’ but it has also re-invigorated the ‘upstream’, covering the space segment, the launcher segment and the ground segment. The UK is host to successful companies including Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), ClydeSpace (part of AAC

Microtec) and Oxford Space Systems (OSS) involved with various aspects of the New Space sector in small satellites (<500kg mass), ground segments and deployable structures in space. Today we see the results of this clever analysis and long-term strategy bearing fruit with two new spaceports: Spaceport Sutherland located on the A’ Mhòine peninsula in the north of Scotland supporting vertical launch initially, and Spaceport Cornwall in the far south-west tip of England promoting horizontal launch opportunities. These complementary offerings will provide the UK with a complete independent supply chain of space capabilities and services, in particular critically providing rapid, economical access to space, further enhancing the country’s capabilities to capture a significant and growing part of the worldwide commercial New Space market. The UK took a decision to invest and train an astronaut as part of the ESA astronaut corps and Tim Peake’s flight to the International Space Station (ISS) has brought immeasurable dividends to the UK space economy by bringing attention to the public just how much the UK is involved in space on a daily basis and critically focusing the next generation on STEM opportunities and the potential for careers in the growing upstream and downstream space sectors. The value of an astronaut for a nation has many immeasurable benefits, for the complete space sector as a whole as well as focusing and exciting eager minds. A key part of this success story has been the careful commercial exploitation of space law and legislation, including the support from successive governments on the long-term strategy for space, as well as the formation of the UK Space Agency (UKSA) to coordinate space efforts from across the wide range of government departments, organisations and institutions into a single, focused agency. Australia can certainly learn from these

two country examples and must carve out a niche strategy to ‘put Australia on the space map’, globally. It is encouraging to see the Australian Space Agency led by Dr Megan Clark and her team actively pursuing this policy and listening to what Australians and Australian industry need and want from their new space agency, both in the short and long terms. It will be interesting to see the developments over time and finally see the Australian flag in space sometime soon. It should never be underestimated how much genuine interest, excitement and support the general population in Australia has for ‘all things space’ and this has already been seen in the various industry consultations and feedback from key questions that the agency has cleverly asked before deciding and implementing the Australian space strategy and policy. A particularly surprising result and feedback from these consultations was the appetite for a domestic launch capability that can rival and compete with Rocket Lab in New Zealand and the spaceport on the Mahia Peninsula of the North Island which was spearheaded a few years earlier, leading to numerous successful launches of the Electron small satellite launcher to low Earth orbit (LEO). It will be interesting to see the developments taking place at Southern Launch and Equatorial Launch Australia in the coming months and years. Australia should carve out its own unique commercial path in the space industry and support the government and defence space sectors while stimulating both the upstream and downstream to capture the market opportunities of this exciting global space economy. The development of the legal and legislative space aspects should be coordinated to allow the commercial exploitation of this significantly growing industry for the benefit of all Australians n








LLOYD DAMP CEO, SOUTHERN LAUNCH site and we explored 15 locations across the southern coastline of Australia before we chose Whalers Way. Our HQ will be in Adelaide for logistics reasons with the added benefit that the Australian Space Agency and many future customers are also nearby. We have important factors such as site security and data security to consider for our clients to operate commercially from the site. I understand that you are focused on the small satellite and cubesat markets in Australia. Could you explain more about this? What applications will these satellites serve? What is the history of Southern Launch? What are your current plans? Southern Launch started as a dream back in 2017 and became my full-time employment as CEO since September 2018. We now have a dedicated team developing infrastructure, procedures and engaging customers to enable launches from South Australia for the small launcher market. Our key objective is to complete the building of the Whalers Way launch site located near Adelaide in South Australia as well as demonstrate a launch by the end of 2020. This has not been done for 50 years in Australia and we want to have the facility licence and launch permit ready at that time to offer commercial operations. Our decision process included our key objective to be close to the launch



The world is experiencing a dramatic shift in launch demand, from a few big equatorial satellites to thousands of smaller satellites in polar orbits. Southern Launch was designed from the outset to capture this ‘New Space’ polar small satellite launch demand. Applications include Earth observation and the flow down of new products and services in this rapidly expanding commercial market. Data monitoring from space including shipping and navigation services are also key areas as well as search and rescue, 5G internet from space and a multitude of services for aircraft. Have you joined the SmartSat CRC? Please elaborate on this opportunity. Yes, we are very interested in launching satellites that the SmartSat

CRC will manufacture. We are teamed with SCISYS Germany who are strong in satellite monitoring and control (EU Galileo and EGNOS programs, deep space missions and future off-Earth mining opportunities). How do you compare your launch opportunities to the other launch sites around the world and the increasing number of new spaceports? We are dedicated to providing polar launches out over the Great Australian Bight and differentiate ourselves on safety, launch window frequency, launch schedule flexibility and launch site accessibility. How has the space law and legislation for launches including insurance and licences affected your business to set up the launch site in Australia? This is a brave new world for Australia with lots of unknowns that will take time to explore and understand. Issues such as liability and safe rocket operations are of paramount importance. The new Space Act 2018 and proposed Rules are yet to be exercised. But it’s great fun, seeing and participating in the state and federal governments’ combined solutions. Who will be your biggest customers: commercial, government, defence?

Both government and defence are looking for a commercial service. We are commercially driven to compete with the other spaceports around the world. How does Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) in the Northern Territory affect your business? Is it a competitor or does it complement your business? We see them as an amazing complement to us! The team at ELA are doing a fantastic job. We see their equatorial launch service as complimentary, for example there is the option to use the Darwin to Adelaide train line so a customer can move people and equipment, including rockets between the two sites (4,000km, two-day trip), and have access to both polar (with SL) and equatorial (with ELA) launches. How many people work at Southern Launch? Do you intend to employ new staff soon? If so, what roles are typically needed? We currently have three full-time staff and some part-time. We will need people with engineering, mathematics and project management backgrounds to blaze a trail where no roads exist yet and they must have that ‘can-do’ attitude. We are looking for Australians who want to have a go! Looking forward to New Space developments in the next five

years, do you have any insights into the market and growth potential? We see many small-sized companies being able to compete against larger space-based satellite service providers due to small satellite technology advancements. The lower smallsat financial barrier to entry means they potentially have a quicker time to market. Just-in-time access to space is a core requirement of their business models – exactly what Southern Launch will be providing. They will continue to challenge the larger satellite manufacturers, iterating their satellites faster to develop new technologies and serve new markets. What sets Australia apart in the global commercial space world? What unique offering is Australia able to capitalise on? We believe being a late entrant to the global space industry is a real benefit to Australia. We don’t have ‘lingering baggage’ or pre-conceived ideas and this is shown by the SmartSat CRC. We have a unique offering to exploit new markets – Australia is a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI), advanced manufacturing and mining so we are well positioned in space mining and autonomous systems opportunities.

Do you offer internships, apprenticeships or traineeships? Yes, absolutely! STEM outreach, and providing young Australians with

space experience, is one of our core tenets. We have just had two interns (law and media) finish and are starting a new intern shortly. Our interns usually work for approximately 20 days on an Australian-relevant spacerelated topic.

What challenges do you see ahead in the short and medium terms? The key is getting people to understand that Australia can achieve space! It is not just the domain for the EU, Russia, US and China, etc. ‘Space’ is fortunately an easy ‘sell’ with the younger generations – as Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head at the Australian Space Agency says, “space and dinosaurs excite kids today”. Are there any areas of space that you think require more attention, effort or funding? Yes, we need to bust the bureaucracy! This starts with a shift in the way people approach legalisation – a ‘yes we can’ attitude rather than ‘no we can’t’. A good example of ‘yes we can’ is how the South Australian Government has established a task force to guide our project through the required state regulations. Fantastic! Finally, do you have any recommendations for people wanting to get into the space business? Do your research and have a go! n










Image: Senetas Corporation Limited.


he global space industry is witnessing enormous opportunities and growth – possibly greater than any other in many decades. Since the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs, the space industry has changed and is no longer restricted to governments, the military and public funding. It is now a growing and competitive high-tech commercial industry. Today the Australian space industry is positioning itself to capture economic opportunities of up to $12 billion of the global space industry’s $345 billion annual revenue by 2030. Because Australia’s space industry possesses geographic advantages, industry capabilities and technology skills, it is also an increasingly high-


Image: Copyright 2008 Simon Galbally

By Simon Galbally, Senetas Corporation

visibility target for cyber attacks by a mix of ‘bad actors’. Australian Government and CSIRO space industry studies highlight that Australia’s space capabilities and location, together with global space developments, position it well for commercial success and growth (currently $3.8 billion p.a.). Competitive capabilities, from space weather to deep-space communications, provide advantages in commercial revenue activities from space-enabled services and applications (satellite communications and TV and GPS), construction and launch of space hardware, satellite data transmission and growing commercial launch and satellite manufacturing industries. Additionally, the historical global industry relationships developed over many decades involve important confidential knowledge sharing. All of these activities are subject to serious cyber-security threats – from eavesdropping to theft of

IP and access control, to attacks on the high-speed data networks that transmit information and manage these services. It is obvious that such a valuable and high-tech industry, together with its unique global services, make the Australian space industry a very desirable target for cyber crime including hacking and attacks on its data networks infrastructure, such as asset control systems (satellites and rocket launch systems). Strong and effective cyber-security prevention and protection technologies are readily available and have never been more cost effective. For example, the use of strong encryption solutions for stored data and data transmitted across communications networks is considered not negotiable by many cyber-security experts. They must be considered an everyday part of doing business – especially in high-value and high-tech industries such as the space industry. The threat likelihood is highest among IP-driven organisations for obvious reasons, and the ‘bad actors’ targeting them are among the most skilled. But the space industry is also at risk of industrial espionage and destructive hacking attacks by statesponsored and organised cyber-crime syndicates and cyber terrorists – even other commercial organisations. One such event is known to have taken place in the southern hemisphere causing a failed satellite launch. However, there is a second and positive side to this cyber-security ‘coin’. The space industry itself could perform valuable roles in cyber security on a global scale. For instance, as the world inches closer to the arrival of quantum computing and the threats it poses to classical encryption security, quantumresistant encryption algorithms are

being developed. When these new algorithms arrive, one such role for the space industry is the opportunity for satellite-delivered quantum encryption key distribution. This could see a costeffective satellite-based platform for secure global distribution of quantum encryption keys.

Amongst the most shocking data breach reports, Gemalto’s 2018 Breach Level Index reported only 4% of breached data was encrypted! This breached data included identity, IP and financial records. It explains why, in its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU has defined a successful data breach as one in which the “…data is not protected by strong encryption…” As the gold standard of data security regulations, the GDPR provides for unprecedented data breach notification requirements and very severe financial penalties for successful data breaches of unencrypted data. The GDRP is important to the global space industry because of participation by some EU countries. Despite Australian data privacy regulations and federal government defence supplier data security requirements, in October 2017 it was revealed that a breach of a defence industry contractor’s data led to the theft of 10 gigabytes of sensitive data. This was reported to have “included information on the [F-35] joint strike fighter, C130 [Hercules aircraft], the P-8 Poseidon [surveillance aircraft], joint direct attack munition [JDAM smart bomb kits] and a few naval vessels.” None of the data was encrypted. Enough said? No, it was unacceptable business practice that the data was not encrypted. In EU GDRP terms, had that data been “protected by strong encryption”, there was no data breach! Cyber security is not simply about the protection of data from theft,

eavesdropping and privacy breaches. An increasing security issue is the protection of data against serious nefarious purpose attacks. These attacks risk data manipulation, access control, injection of rogue data and even interference with industrial and other asset control systems (i.e. critical national infrastructure including satellites). While the impact of a data breach or cyber attack could range from inconvenient to serious – from the temporary shut-down of an application and business disruption, to stolen data – the space industry faces potentially catastrophic consequences. A nefarious attack against unencrypted data networks could enable a ‘bad actor’ to take control of, or bring down, a satellite or even launch a rocket. Strong encryption also protects against these cyber threats. In the words of revered cybersecurity expert and cryptographer, Bruce Schneier, “Encryption should be enabled for everything by default, not a feature you turn on only if you’re doing something you consider worth protecting.”


Denis Waitley wisely said, “Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and

that is the risk of doing nothing.” His words are all the more poignant in a world where the technologies that help drive business opportunities also open doors to cyber-security threats that will undermine them. The increasing adoption of new business technologies and collaboration (local and global) among high-tech organisations (partners, customers, suppliers) using cloud, SaaS, multi-cloud, IaaS and hybrid-cloud technologies continues to accelerate. Significantly, they require more complex and highperformance data networks than ever before to enable them and transmit their record volumes of data – rich intellectual property (IP) and control systems data. Business technologies have never before been so data network dependent. From the outset data networks are not inherently safe, and networking devices such as routers and switches often add security vulnerabilities. Added to those issues, the large data volumes generated lead to significantly increased cyberattack vectors. However, despite the business benefits of new technologies for hightech industries there lie ‘traps for the trusting’ – the network infrastructures they rely upon. Therefore, it is no longer sufficient to simply protect data held on the premises





(data at rest). As data networks carry increasingly large volumes of businesscritical data, control systems’ data and IP, shared in many locations among many users, that data must be protected by strong encryption. Global data networks are increasingly rich cyber-attack vectors leading to greater cyber-attack likelihood and potentially greater adverse impact on stakeholder victims. The risk analysis is simple – the cybersecurity risks are disproportionally higher for the space industry and similar high-tech IP-driven industries. The impacts would also be higher. Head of Malware Intelligence at Malwarebyte, Adam Kujawa, reported in January 2019 from his analysis of statesponsored threats, as well as threats to government and private industry, that cyber criminals are now turning to more profitable targets – businesses whose data networks are unsecure (unencrypted). Information theft is the primary target. McKinsey & Company’s James Caplan emphasised that organisations’ network transmitted data was cyber criminals’ main target for information-rich data. He argues that the sheer volume of data moving across networks enables theft of gigabytes of data in minutes. He said, “The larger the data volume, the greater the risk.” Whatever the threat, it is clear that failure to treat cyber security as a core business-enabling technology, rather than as a side issue, will risk catastrophic damage and consequently severe litigation. It requires a ‘parallel security strategy’ approach. High-tech IP-driven organisations arguably have the most to lose – financially, their IP and their reputations.


If cyber security is tough today, it will be much tougher tomorrow. Emerging



business technologies promise greater security challenges as the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), and internet and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) based solutions lead to a further explosion in high-performance data networks and transmitted data volumes. All of which are data network dependent and sources of cyber-crime riches. The common security threats to new technologies are not limited to theft of sensitive information, such as IP, but the potential for serious business disruption, access control and asset harm. ‘Bad actors’ may be motivated by serious harm to the organisation, its business, production, product quality, assets or other nefarious purposes. The variation of bad actors’ motivations leads to broader attack vectors – data volumes and types. While the space industry’s use of emerging IoT and ML technologies and their cloud/multi-cloud/hybridcloud services grow rapidly, these data network dependent technologies will become increasingly business-critical and vulnerable. Consequently, the cyber-security threats they face will be more harmful.


There are two key components to data security: prevention and protection. Prevention technologies attempt to stop cyber attacks and data breaches (e.g. firewalls). They are components of good cyber-security strategies. However, if there is one truth in data security, it is that it’s not a matter of if a cyber attack or data breach will occur, but when. Protection is about encrypting data against the inevitable data breach, however caused. Only encryption ensures that when prevention security fails, the breached data is protected and useless to unauthorised parties. Because not all encryption is the same, encryption solutions must be

fit-for-purpose. Secure, dedicated, purpose-built and ‘crypto-agile’ solutions ensure long-term protection beyond the useful life of the data.


Four main factors have added to cybersecurity risks in recent years: vulnerable network devices (routers and switches); email sharing of unencrypted documents with third parties (customers, partners and suppliers); and innocent human and technical errors. Whether all data in an organisation is sensitive is not the point. As Schneier emphasises, nor is it a reason not to encrypt. Data has become the currency of modern business and the rewards for cyber criminals, rogue states and industrial spies are significant. Moreover, control systems’ data transmitted between satellite links should be encrypted. Only encryption prevents ‘bad actors’ from gaining control over launch infrastructure, satellites and control systems. Eavesdropping and theft of IP will have catastrophic implications for Australian space industry organisations – shareholders and other stakeholders. This cannot be overstated. For example, US industrial software developer AMSC – a listed company – discovered that critical software IP was stolen and used by foreign competitors. Despite swift action and with FBI help, AMSC’s stock value fell from $370 per share to just $5 per share while the matter was being prosecuted. Although the Australian Government passed the new Space Activities (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 and is developing further legislation known as ‘The Rules’ with submissions from the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) and members, the question remains: how will the Australian space industry address the need for optimum cyber security? n

ARE YOU DOING ENOUGH TO PROTECT YOUR DATA? In an evolving threat landscape, your data is under threat from multiple vectors. Of the 14 billion records lost or stolen since 2013, data was encrypted and rendered useless in just 4% of breaches.

Unprotected IoT devices

Unencrypted high-speed networks

Borderless networking

Unsecure file sharing platforms

Emerging trends such as quantum computing

END-TO-END ENCRYPTION: YOUR BEST DEFENCE As a global leader in the development of advanced encryption technologies, Senetas protects data in motion without compromising network or application performance. Our solutions include hardware encryptors for core IT infrastructure, virtualised encryption for virtual CPE and virtualised WAN, and encrypted file sharing apps with added zero-day threat protection. Your data is protected against:







Senetas is an all-Australian developer and manufacturer of world-leading, certified high-assurance encryption hardware, dedicated to protecting network transmitted data without compromising application and network performance. Our encryptors are certified by CC, FIPS and NATO as suitable for defence and government use.

Senetas Global Headquarters: 312 Kings Way, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 T: +61 (0) 3 9868 4555 | E: | W:

Profile for Faircount Media Asia-Pacific

Australian Space Outlook 2019  

Australian Space Outlook 2019

Australian Space Outlook 2019  

Australian Space Outlook 2019