The first Australian-built satellites to be launched in 15 years are set to take off this week from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Unlike the enormous satellites Australia uses for telecommunications, each of these new satellites (or cubesats) is the size of a loaf of bread. But although small, they may provide a key step in enabling Australia's entry into the global satellite market. SEE ALSO: Here's who we think will fly to the moon with SpaceX Three types of cubesats are the Australian contribution to the international QB50 mission, in which 36 satellites from different institutions around the world will carry instruments provided by the Von Karman Institute ( VKI) to examine the lower thermosphere. This is a very interesting part of the atmosphere for several reasons, such as the way it disturbs GPS measurements.
Australia can look forward to a new Space Industry Program, comprising research hubs and local space industry development, if Bill Shorten wins the next federal election. Labor is promising an investment of up to AU$35 million that will also require co-investment from the likes of industry and universities to get the program off the ground. Within five years of its creation, Labor predicts an Australian space agency would be worth AU$3-4 billion annually in revenues, and create around 10,000 new jobs in the areas of advanced manufacturing, research, earth observation, and space technologies. The Australian Space Industry Program is slated to comprise four Australian Research Council (ARC) Space Industry research hubs, which Labor expects will "advance capabilities in emerging areas of industry-focused space research and technology". There would also be two ARC Space Industry training centres that would work directly with industry in offering 25 industrial PhDs.
Ahead of the 2018 federal Budget being delivered next Tuesday, the ABC has reported that the Australian government will be pumping AU$50 million into the creation of a space agency. It is believed the "seed funding" will be used to finally establish a dedicated Australian space agency to coordinate existing efforts in the aeronautical industry, with the aim of generating thousands of future jobs. While the ABC said the government is yet to decide where the new space agency will be hosted, the reported flagged Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory as all having expressed interest in claiming the headquarters. The Australian government had revealed in September that it would be establishing a national space agency once its review into the space industry was complete. It then announced signing a Space Tracking Treaty with NASA in October, with Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Michaelia Cash saying the treaty "remains the foundation for a continued cooperative program between Australia and the United States".
CSIRO's phased array technology will be used by Quasar's ground station service to communicate with hundreds of satellites all at once. Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has teamed up with Vocus, Main Sequence, the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineering, Fleet Space Technologies, Saber Astronautics, and Celarbox Systems to help launch space communications startup Quasar. CSIRO chief Larry Marshall boasted Quasar will develop an "as-a-service" solution to allow ground stations to talk to hundreds of satellites simultaneously and access data from satellites in low, medium, and geostationary orbit. The solution will be underpinned by CSRIO's phased array technology, which the organisation developed for its radio telescopes, including its own WA-based Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope. "CSIRO's phased array technology revolutionised radio astronomy by enabling ASKAP to see enormous portions of the sky at once -- about 30 times the area that conventional telescopes could see," Quasar founding director and CSIRO commercialisation specialist Ilana Feain said.
Australia wants a slice of the booming private space industry, and it's launching an agency to capitalise on it. The Australian Government announced on Monday at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide that it would commit to launching a space agency, following a review of the country's space capability and years of calls to establish one. "The case for establishing an Australian space agency is compelling. And so, I am pleased today to announce that the Australian Government will be establishing a national space agency," South Australian senator Simon Birmingham said. Today I'm pleased to announce on behalf of the Turnbull Government that Australia will have a space agency #IAC2017 pic.twitter.com/2pd9HoVi8f