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Australia hopes to kick start space industry with new strategy


The federal government has published its plan to transform and grow Australia's space industry over the next 10 years, starting with forging international partnerships and developing roadmaps for areas highlighted as priority for launching the local scene. The Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028 [PDF] is built on four so-called Strategic Space Pillars: Open the door internationally; develop national capability in areas of competitive advantage; ensure safety and national interest are addressed; and inspire and improve the lives of all Australians. The overarching plan is to triple the size of Australia's space sector and grow an additional 20,000 jobs by 2030. Activities under the pillars will be guided by the seven National Civil Space Priorities that build on Australia's areas of strength, the strategy explained. The priority areas are: Position, navigation, and timing (PNT); earth observation; communications technologies and services; space situational awareness and debris monitoring; research and development (R&D); robotics and automation on Earth and in space; and access to space.

CSIRO coughs up AU$35m for Australia's space and AI efforts


The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has made AU$35 million available for research into new and emerging technologies. According to CSIRO, the funding will be available specifically for use in the areas of space technology and artificial intelligence, including on the development of advanced imaging of Earth from satellites and data science through AI and machine learning. With AU$16 million invested, the space technology segment will be charged with identifying and developing "science to leapfrog traditional technologies" and find new areas Australia can focus on. CSIRO said it will initially focus on advanced technologies for Earth observation, and then address challenges such as space object tracking, resource utilisation in space, and developing manufacturing and life support systems for missions to the Moon and Mars. AU$19 million will be used to target AI-driven solutions for areas including food security and quality, health and wellbeing, sustainable energy and resources, resilient and valuable environments, and Australian and regional security, CSIRO explained.

Australia signs space agreements with the UK and Canada


Australia's newly stood up space agency has announced signing two agreements with counterpart agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom. The Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between the Australian Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, and the United Kingdom Space Agency, with the three-way deal expected to help the nations develop their respective space programs and take advantage of the global industry. "Forging international partnerships is vital to building Australia's space industry and ensuring our businesses can compete on the world stage," Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said Wednesday. "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." The signing of the new MoUs took place at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) being held this week in Bremen, Germany.

Australian National University launches space innovation institute


A new innovation institute, InSpace, has launched out of the Australian National University (ANU), charged with combining technology, science, and law research to advance Australia's space industry. InSpace, according to ANU Vice Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt, will look to expand the opportunities for Australia to expand its commercial and scientific interests in the space industry. "The new institute will be the front door to space activities and capabilities across the university, including technology R&D, science missions, space test facilities, commercial space law, and business and finance initiatives relating to space," Schmidt said. "ANU has been Australia's leading astronomy institute for decades, and we're now looking to combine that scientific expertise with the work we're doing in physics, computing, quantum mechanics, and law." It is expected the new initiative, led by Professor Anna Moore from ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, will serve as a bridge between academia and industry, and is designed to drive co-investment between industry and government partners in space-related projects.