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 of experience in the space industry and is in a strong position to develop this industry further.

WA hosts space infrastructure for civil and defence applications, space-related facilities and institutions and university research programs. In particular, WA has industry capabilities in the maintenance and operation of ground-based space systems and autonomous and remote operations, often in remote and harsh environments.

With more than 70 international and Australian companies operating in space and space-related services, WA also has a diverse and highly skilled space workforce.

Space industry capability in Western Australia

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A recent report concluded that WA has the following advantages and opportunities:

  • WA's southern hemisphere location and longitude are ideal for space situational awareness and facilities that contribute to global coverage of space assets, including tracking of launches.
  • WA provides maximum access to Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) constellations.
  • These geographic advantages have been reinforced by investments in communications, computational infrastructure and access to technical expertise.
  • WA is creating significant opportunities for space situational awareness, optical communications, astronomy, space operations and defence space applications.
  • There are substantial capabilities in remote operations of space systems and ground stations.
  • There are established training programs that could be adapted to support growth in these areas.
  • WA hosts capabilities in the development and use of space-derived applications. Opportunities for competitive advantage lie in agriculture, mining, offshore oil and gas, remote operations and robotics. The greatest potential for economic growth and jobs is likely to be found in these areas.

 

Read the full report prepared by ACIL Allen for a Space Industry Steering Group chaired by the Chief Scientist, Professor Peter Klinken AC: 

MoU with the Australian Space Agency

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In July 2019, Western Australia’s Minister for Science, the Hon Dave Kelly MLA and Federal Science Minister, the Hon Karen Andrews MP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between WA 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. $6 million from ASA’s Space Infrastructure Fund and $4.5 million from the Western Australian Government has been provided to support the establishment of the following:

  • Australian Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex which will provide a world-leading multi-user, multi-sector facility for space and on-Earth remote operations. This will allow businesses and researchers to develop, test and operate robotics, automation and AI in space for satellites, space stations and on the Moon or Mars.
  • Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF) at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Kensington. The ASDAF will support analysis of satellite data for areas including mining, agriculture, emergency services and maritime surveillance. These facilities will build capability in data analysis for space missions and provide businesses access to space data to open new market opportunities and help to improve productivity and innovation across WA industries.

 

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

Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE)

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Launched in February 2020, the Western Australian headquartered, industry-led, not-for-profit consortium will position Perth as a global centre for remote operations in space. At the same time, it will enhance the productivity and safety of existing industries–such as resources, defence, health and agriculture–through advanced remote asset management.

The Western Australian Government has provided funding to assist in establishing AROSE. Foundation Partners include Curtin University, Fugro, Nova Systems, UWA and Woodside.

Further details on AROSE, including how to be involved, can be found at www.arose.org.au.

 

Read the media statement, AROSE Media Statement – February 2020

Space communications technologies, services and situational awareness

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Western Australia has a long history in the area of space communications technologies and services. From 1961 to 1972, ground stations in WA played key roles in NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions to the Moon.

Australia is already part of the US surveillance network for space debris, with capability in WA to detect and track objects in space, including space debris, and predict and avoid potential collisions. Key infrastructure includes:

  • European Space Agency New Norcia Deep Space Ground Station.
  • Mingenew Space Precinct located with the Mid West Radio Quiet Zone. Operators in the precinct include the
    • Swedish Space Corporation
    • Geosciences Australia
    • Capricorn Space.
  • Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, home to the
    • Square Kilometre Array (SKA)
    • Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder
    • Murchison Widefield Array
    • EDGES (Experiment to Detect the Global EoR Signature).
  • US-Australian Space Surveillance Telescope.
  • Learmonth Solar Observatory.
  • Desert Fireball Network.

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Page reviewed 23 June 2022