Australia could work with Europe on future space missions, following a new agreement between the Australian Space Agency and the European Space Agency.
Both agencies signed a joint statement of intent to explore deeper cooperation and identify projects in a range of areas including deep space, communications, navigation, remote asset management, data analytics and mission support.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the signing was a big step forward for the Australian Space Agency.
“This signing will allow our agencies to explore further opportunities for cooperation, after 40 years of having worked together,” she said.
“Having the Australian Space Agency to pursue these opportunities will play a big part in us reaching our goal of tripling the size of our space sector to $12 billion and up to an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.”
The existing treaty with the European Space Agency to host the New Norcia deep space tracking station in Western Australia will now see a third antenna built on site, with maintenance and operational support provided by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO.
Cutting-edge science missions
CSIRO works closely with the European Space Agency on Earth observation cooperation, including around their cutting-edge science missions.
There are also strong links in place on Earth observation. Copernicus Australasia, a partnership of Australian governments and New Zealand’s Xerra Earth Observation Institute, and managed by Geoscience Australia, works closely with the European Space Agency to promote access to data from the European Commission’s 7-billion Euro Copernicus programs.
Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC said this new statement will open more doors for Australian innovators and grow a connected and globally competitive space industry in Australia.
“We are delighted to start working with the European Space Agency to open up opportunities for our industry and researchers to participate in joint missions,” Dr Clark said.
“We can offer world-leading expertise in remote operations that can be applied in space.”
The statement will form the basis to pursue more formal cooperation through a Framework Agreement subject to ESA Council endorsement later in the year.
The federal government established the Australian Space Agency in July last year and is investing more than $380 million to support the growth and transformation of the space sector in Australia.