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Australia and the US to secure data via Earth Observation


The Australian Space Agency and NASA have signed a joint Statement of Intent to further secure data, following the Australian government’s $1.2 billion Budget commitment for the nation’s first National Space Mission for Earth Observation.

The first phase of the National Space Mission will include Australia designing, building and operating four satellites that will capture globally unique data, carving out an important role for Australia internationally. 

Minister for Science and Technology, Melissa Price, said the signing was an important part of locking in Australia’s access to the valuable data we rely on, as well as our place in the global space community.  

“For us to unleash the full power of Earth observation we need to work with our closest international partners to share data and learn from one another,” Price said.  

“This signing is the first step toward Australia contributing to and enhancing this critical network for the benefit of both our nations. The Morrison government is committed to growing the local space sector because as this mission shows, it benefits the everyday lives of all Australians while also creating high-paying jobs across a range of skillsets.” 

The Statement of Intent highlights opportunities for Australia and the US to work together. 

It includes how the satellites being developed under our National Space Mission could complement NASA’s CLimate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory – Pathfinder (CLARREO-PF) mission. 

CLARREO-PF will take high accuracy measurements of reflected sunlight needed to help us better understand Earth’s climate system. 

“The National Space Mission is a true milestone in Australia’s space history,” Australian Space Agency head Enrico Palermo said. “It takes us from a consumer to a contributor of Earth observation data, which we all know is a huge part of day-to-day life. 

“By working with the United States and other international partners, we can not only secure future supply of essential EO data, but we can also learn and develop capability that will support the growth of the Australian space sector.” 

NASA deputy administrator, Pam Melroy, who signed on behalf of the US, said: “We are pleased to complement and strengthen the value of our CLARREO-PF mission and global Earth observations through this statement of intent to continue our strong partnership in space with Australia.”  

The Statement of Intent also highlights the critical roles the United States Geological Survey and Geoscience Australia would play in any future opportunities to work together. 

The National Space Mission is being led by the Australian Space Agency in partnership with Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and Defence. 

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