In September, the global space industry will turn its attention to Australia as more than 3,000 senior representatives from around the world, and all parts of the space industry, participate in the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), in Adelaide from 25-29 September.
There is extensive space activity and capability within Australian industry even though Australia does not currently have a formal space programme.
Asia Pacific Aerospace Consultants (APAC) conducted several studies for the Australian Government identifying the space activities and revenues generated by companies and institutions, including their capabilities in the context of global supply chains.
The most recent of these reports titled: ‘A Selective Review of Australian Space Capabilities: Growth Opportunities in Global Supply Chains and Space Enabled Services’, which was delivered in 2016, identified the fact that Australia has capabilities across all major sectors of space activity and that its space industry is generating up to an estimated A$4bn in annual revenue.
It is interesting to note that the Australian economy is the 13th largest in the world and the APAC studies found that every sector of its economy uses space services in some way.
Not only does Australia represent a sizable and growing market, but its organisations also possess world class space capabilities.
Australia’s unique geography and demographics has spurred its organisations to use space-enabled services in innovative ways, especially in precision agriculture, mining and smart transportation services.
The Space 2.0 revolution is increasing the opportunities for Australian innovation in the space domain. There are currently more than 20 space industry start-ups actively pursuing projects ranging from remote asset tracking, to miniature rocket thrusters and machine learning diagnostics for spacecraft monitoring.
Australian institutions are also conducting some world-leading research into scramjets and space situational awareness technologies.
A serious discussion is underway within the Australian Government about whether to form an Australian Space Agency. Informed speculation suggests that just such an announcement will be made around the time of the 68th IAC in September.
Now is the time for anyone planning to attend the 68th IAC to get to know Australia’s space capabilities, understand its market potential, and to seek out collaborative or partnership opportunities.
Australia is also an excellent base for market development within the broader Asia Pacific region.
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