Space

The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation is responsible for supporting the growth of the Western Australian space sector to create jobs, diversify the economy, drive innovation and inspire a passion for STEM.

Western Australia has more than 60 years’ experience in the space industry and is in a strong position to develop this industry further.

Western Australia is involved in a range of space operations, hosts significant space infrastructure for both civil and defence applications and is home to more than 100 international and Australian organisations operating space and space-related services. Significant areas of activity and capability include ground-based satellite and deep space communications; space situational awareness; data processing and analysis; and world-leading remote operations automation and robotics. Additionally, Western Australia has emerging capabilities in optical communications, satellite development and launch. 

Utilising the State’s space infrastructure, capabilities and geographic advantage for the global coverage of space assets, Western Australia will continue to increase its activities in supporting and providing critical space mission operation services to international space organisation and companies.  

Western Australia is also home to five universities and various research institutions with established expertise in the space industry and related fields, feeding into a vibrant R&D and innovation ecosystem. The Western Australian workforce is highly skilled and diverse, with a pipeline of skilled workers in space and space-related fields.

Geraldton space centre

Space industry capability in Western Australia

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Western Australia has significant activity and capabilities in all of Australian Space Agency’s Civil Space Strategy Priority Areas including the following advantages and opportunities:

  • Southern hemisphere location and longitude are ideal for space situational awareness and facilities that contribute to the global coverage of space assets (including tracking of launches) and providing maximum access to Global Navigational Satellite System constellations.
  • Ideal environmental conditions: geographically stable with clear skies (low rainfall and cloud cover), large arid areas with minimal radio interference and radio-quiet zones.
  • Significant communications, computational infrastructure and local access to technical expertise.
  • Substantial capabilities in space systems, ground stations, astronomy and planetary research. 
  • World leading capabilities in remote operations, automation and robotics in remote and harsh environments utilising ultra-low bandwidth satellite communications.
  • Emerging capabilities in optical communications; satellite design, construction and operation; and launch.
  • Partnerships and extensive activity with international space agencies and private space companies.
  • Significant terrestrial adoption and use of space derived data, and technology transfer between terrestrial (mining, oil and gas, agriculture, energy) and space sectors.
  • Diverse and highly-skilled workforce with more than 100 international and Australian companies operating in space and space-related services.

MoU with the Australian Space Agency

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In July 2019, Western Australia’s then Minister for Science, the Hon Dave Kelly MLA and Australian Government Science Minister, the Hon Karen Andrews MP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Western Australia and the Australian Space Agency (ASA) for the advancement and growth of the space industry sector.

The MoU focusses on advancing ASA’s goal to triple the Australian space sector to $12 billion and create another 20,000 jobs by 2030.

Read the media statement, MoU Media Statement – July 2019.

Current Focus Areas

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  • Remote operations, robotics and automation - WA is the world-leader in remote operations, with expertise in remote asset management, autonomous operations, robotics, AI, remote sensing and systems integration.
  • Space communications and situational awareness - WA, with its clear skies and large arid areas with minimal radio interference is particularly well placed for space communication; space situational awareness; positioning, navigation and timing; and facilities that contribute to global coverage of space assets.
  • Satellites - WA has emerging capabilities in the design, manufacture and operation of satellites.                                                                                
  • Space data analytics, supercomputing and cybersecurity - WA has significant computing infrastructure and capability in data science, analytics and cybersecurity.
  • Research, training and education - WA has significant capability in space research, training and education especially in secondary and tertiary sectors.
  • Launch - WA has significant advantages and opportunities for the establishment of new launch facilities for equatorial, polar and sun synchronous orbits. 

 

Current State Government space industry investments

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Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE) consortium

The Perth headquartered AROSE entity is a not-for-profit, industry-led consortium that transfers technology from the resources sector into the international space sector. AROSE's aim is to position Western Australia as the trusted leader of remote operations for terrestrial and space sectors. AROSE is rapidly expanding and members include research organisations Curtin University, UWA, QUT, UNSW; industry including Nova Group, Perenti, Rio Tinto, Woodside; and space companies such as First Mode, Gilmore Space and MDA.

Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF)

The Perth-based ASDAF facility was established to assist Australian SMEs and researchers in enhancing their ability to leverage space data, particularly EO data, through a multi-pathway strategy.

Curtin University’s Binar Space Program

Curtin University's Binar Space Program is building the next generation of CubeSats in order to advance solar system understanding and to lower the barriers to space operations for other groups and institutions. Curtin University is the only organisation manufacturing satellites in the State and is currently the only Australian organisation to design, manufacture and fly satellites in space. The first Binar satellite was launched into space in August 2021 with a further six due to be launched in 2022 and 2023, forming Australia's first home-grown constellation of satellites.

Australian Space Automation, AI and Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC)

The Perth headquartered SpAARC complex is a world-class facility that trains, tests and controls remote and autonomous operations in space and other harsh environments. SpAARC will support a number of upcoming national and international space (including lunar) missions.

QuantumTX

QuantumTX grows emerging businesses and capability by facilitating collaboration across space, mining, energy, agriculture and defence sectors. QuantumTX leverages Australia’s competitive advantages in cross-cutting technologies in automation, robotics, remote operations, data sciences, simulation and digital communications.

State Government funding opportunities

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The Western Australian Government’s $100 million Investment Attraction Fund was established to attract further investment to Western Australia that will create local jobs in new and support emerging industries including the space industry. The Investment Attraction Fund presents an opportunity for space businesses looking to establish and grow their operations in Western Australia by accessing support and financial assistance of up to $5 million.

The State Government also supports innovation through the New Industries Fund which includes a variety of funding programs to support the acceleration of new and emerging businesses in Western Australia, to diversify the economy and create new jobs and industries.

Announcements

Page reviewed 23 November 2022