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September 2, 2014
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Defence SA statement on space sector support

The full statement from Defence SA on how the South Australian Government supports the local space sector.

A Defence SA spokesperson provided CityMag with the following statement after we made inquiries about how the government supports local space initiatives for our story Look to the skies: SA aims high in space

“South Australia has a long and proud history as the natural home of Australia’s space effort, dating back to 1947 with the establishment of the Woomera Test Range to support testing of British and Australian missiles.   Extensive military trials were conducted at various launch sites within the range, notably the Blue Streak long range intercontinental missile and the suborbital re-entry test missiles, the Black Night and Redstone rockets.  Many space-related programs have also been undertaken at Woomera, including support of the Mercury manned space flight missions and establishment of NASA’s deep space instrumentation facility at Island Lagoon.  Woomera’s satellite experience includes launching of the Australian WRESAT satellite – the third nation to design and launch a satellite that orbited the earth – and the British Prospero satellite.

“Woomera’s development spawned a steady growth of space related technologies and corporate knowledge in the design, development and deployment of space platforms.  Several South Australian companies grew skills and capabilities in space vehicles and systems, satellite communications and global positioning systems, earth resources management and deep space astronomy.  Industry, the globally renown Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and South Australian universities collaborated to consolidate this very real space intellectual capital.

“The space sector in Australia consists of niche capabilities located in various states.  In South Australia, space communications particularly the ground segment and service providers providing fixed and mobile communications access via satellite are a major capability.  South Australia is home to a number of international aerospace companies including global giant BAE Systems as well as a raft of SMEs providing niche services and technologies applicable to space applications.   New company NewSat has established its space satellite centre at Mawson Lakes, as the base for its Jabiru Satellite Program.  Australia’s first commercial Ka-band satellites, the Jabiru fleet will deliver high-powered broadband across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia, with longer term coverage extending into the Pacific Ocean and Americas.

“DSTO and our universities remain active in space-related research and development.  And of course Woomera – the largest overland range in the world and a unique national asset, operated by the Royal Australian Air Force’s Aerospace Operational Support Group – regularly hosts space-related activities and tests.   Notably, the Japanese space probe Hayabusa landed at Woomera in 2010 after visiting the Itokawa asteroid.

“The South Australian Government is engaged with organisations across the country and internationally which are involved in the space industry, with the view to increasing the amount of work and opportunities available for local space-related companies.  The State offers support to space-related companies through broad initiatives such as the Innovation Vouchers and the Innovation Catalyst through New Technology programs, as well as through investment facilitation activities through key economic development agencies such as the Department of State Development and Defence SA.

“The State supported South Australian involvement in the $40 million Australian Space Research Program, which saw ~ $9 million awarded for South Australian initiatives.  Local company Vipac Engineers and Scientists was funded to develop its Greenhouse Gas Monitor concept, an innovative sensor to measure greenhouse gases nationally and globally.   Successful trials have been held at Port Augusta and Vipac is now pursuing commercial development.

“South Australia is also bidding to host the 68th International Aeronautical Congress in 2017, the largest space event in the world and would be the largest event to be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre.  The bid, led by the Space Industry Association of Australia and supported by the State Government and Lockheed Martin Australia as anchor sponsor, builds on the State’s space history and promotes Adelaide as a centre for space industry in Australia.”

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