Federal government invests $6m in WA space industry

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) been signed between the federal and Western Australian governments, securing a $6 million investment from the former in Western Australia’s space capabilities.

The MoU was signed by federal science minister Karen Andrews and WA science minister Dave Kelly.

Andrews said the agreement was centred on supporting WA’s space sector to create jobs, diversify the economy and boost innovation.

“This MoU outlines key areas where the Australian Space Agency can work with WA to support business and academia,” Andrews said.

“This agreement will leverage WA’s growing space capabilities in areas such as adopting the robotics and automation capabilities in the resources sector for use in space.

“Every state in Australia has an important role to play, as we aim to triple the size of the Australian space sector to $12 billion and create another 20,000 jobs by 2030.”

$4.5 million will go towards a robotics and artificial intelligence mission control facility, which will advance the remote operation of autonomous and robotic systems in space.

A further $1.5 million will support space data analysis facilities, which will support analysis of satellite data for areas such as mining, agriculture, emergency services and maritime surveillance, and will build capability in data analysis for space missions.

The projects will be delivered in collaboration with the Western Australian Government. The McGowan Government has allocated $2 million for WA’s partnership with the ASA and further funding will be considered in future budgets.

Kelly said the signing of this MoU will unlock national and international opportunities for WA businesses and academia to grow the State’s space industry.

“The robotics and artificial intelligence mission control facility will be a key component in the development of the nation’s capability to advance robotic and autonomous activities in space. WA is well placed to play a leading role in this endeavour, building on our world-leading industry expertise in remote operations,” Kelly said.

“The support to access and analyse space-sourced data will provide benefit to WA across a range of sectors, and will build capability that could lead to a greater role for WA in the analysis of deep space mission data.

“It’s great to see our submission to the ASA in August 2018 showing real dividends for the WA space sector.”