The Australian Space Agency has formally entered into Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with counterpart agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom, as part of the Australian coalition government’s plan to launch a vibrant new space industry in Australia.
These MoU’s will help all three nations develop their respective space programs and take advantage of the rapidly-expanding global space industry.
Minister for Industry, Science, and Technology, the Hon. Karen Andrews, MP, welcomed the MoUs, signed overnight by the Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr. Megan Clark, AC, President of the Canadian Space Agency, Mr. Sylvain Laporte, and Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Space Agency, Dr. Graham Turnock.
“Forging international partnerships is vital to building Australia’s space industry and ensuring our businesses can compete on the world stage,” Minister Andrews said.
“These agreements with counterpart space agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom will increase opportunities to work together and share information, technology and personnel between our nations.”
“They represent a significant step in Australia’s journey with fellow spacefaring nations, and will help to grow the capability and competitiveness of our domestic space sector.”
Dr. Clark said the signing of these new strategic agreements reflects the Australian Space Agency’s commitment to boosting international partnerships with government agencies.
“These signings provide a further positive contribution that cooperation in space science, research, technology, services, applications and international governance can bring.”
“Growing existing relationships with the United Kingdom on the likes of CSIRO’s NovaSar satellite project, Airbus’ Zephyr solar-powered unmanned aircraft and Canada’s cooperation in Earth Observation with Geoscience Australia provides more opportunity to jointly identify projects like these that can be supported and developed in both countries.”
The signing of the new MoU’s took place at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) being held this week in Bremen, Germany. The IAC is an annual meeting of international space agencies and industry, and was hosted for the second time in Australia in 2017.
As part of the 2018–19 budget, the Australian coalition government is investing AUS$41 million (U.S.$28.9 million) over four years to establish and operate Australia’s first-ever national space agency.
The coalition government is also investing more than AUS$260 million (U.S.$183.4 million) to develop world-leading core satellite infrastructure and technologies, including better GPS for Australian business and regional Australians and improved access to satellite imagery.
The space agency’s focus will be on fostering international space partnerships and opening the door for local businesses to compete in the global space economy, helping to drive job growth.