CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — The size of Australia’s space industry is on track to triple by 2030, Minister for Industry, Science and Innovation Karen Andrews said.
The Australian government launched the Australian Space Agency (ASA) in 2018, the country’s first national space agency, with headquarters to be established in Adelaide in 2019.
Minister Andrews said that the local space industry is currently worth 3.9 billion Australian dollars (2.79 billion U.S. dollars) annually, employing 10,000 people.
“The intention is to grow it by 2030 to an industry that’s effectively tripled in size so worth 12 billion AUD (8.6 billion USD) to the economy with an additional 20,000 working in the sector,” she told News Corp Australia on Tuesday.
“It’s a sector that’s worth about 353 billion USD globally. So Australia has only got a very small percentage,” the minister said.
“Australia is uniquely placed geographically in the southern hemisphere, and we need to capitalise on that.”
Her comments coincided with the opening of the biennial Australian International Airshow at Avalon Airport, 55 km southwest of Melbourne, on Tuesday.
The 2019 airshow marks the first time the ASA has had a presence at the event with a focus on business opportunities in the sector with the help of Questacon, the National Science and Technology Center.
“The involvement in Avalon is so important because it is sending a very clear message to the rest of Australia and the world, that the space agency and the space industry in Australia is well and truly open for business,” Andrews said.
“Knowing Questacon, I’m sure they’ll have a range of things to engage young people in particular.
“The space agency will be able to leverage off that and say ‘well, here are the opportunities for you in space’.
“They have got a key role in making sure our young students understand that studying maths and science at school is very important to them.”
Australia’s peak scientific body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), on Tuesday released details around the construction of the world’s largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
The global project will see thousands of antennas built hosted in Australia and southern Africa, giving researchers the ability to explore the universe in unprecedented detail.
“We’re setting the groundwork to host 132,000 low-frequency SKA antennas in Australia. These will receive staggering amounts of data,” Antony Schinckel, the CSIRO’s SKA Infrastructure Consortium Director, said.
“The data flows will be on the scale of petabits, or a million billion bits, per second – more than the global internet rate today, all flowing into a single building in the Murchison (radio-astronomy observatory in Western Australia).
“To get this data from the antennas to the telescope’s custom supercomputing facilities we need to lay 65,000 fibre optic cables.”
The infrastructure for the Australian antenna array has been designed by the CSIRO and global engineering firm Aurecon.
David Luchetti, Australia’s SKA Director, said a separate consortium has designed the African infrastructure.
“CSIRO and Aurecon have delivered world-class designs, and the collaboration between the Australian and South African infrastructure consortia is a great example of the massive global effort behind the SKA project,” he said.
“In addition to the incredible scientific potential of this project, we expect that the SKA will generate many spin-off benefits that we can’t yet anticipate.
“We want to make sure Australia is best placed to capture these benefits.”