With origins that stem from the nation’s first rocket launches at Woomera in the 1950s, South Australia has a strong space heritage.
Whether we realise it or not, space-based infrastructure is critical to our nation, used every day by our citizens and an indirect component of many supply chains.
Today, the state’s space sector is thriving and proving a magnet for global space organisations as well as a constellation of home-grown companies that are developing cutting-edge technologies and lifting Australia’s sovereign space industry capabilities.
Building expertise in Earth Observation
From enabling weather forecasting to supporting disaster management, Earth Observation (EO) satellites deliver decision-critical information that can improve the productivity and competitiveness of virtually every sector of the economy.
Headquartered in Adelaide, Australia’s leading national space industry and research consortium, the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), is focused on advancing EO and building Australia’s expertise in transforming satellite data into essential, decision-ready information.
One of the projects being headed by the CRC is the South Australian Government’s mission to launch its own EO satellite – named Kanyini. A collaboration with South Australian companies Inovor Technologies and Myriota, Kanyini will provide vital data to support government decision-making around water use, climate policy and emergency management.
Accelerating space tech innovation
Space-based technology plays a central role in realising sustainable environmental, social and economic benefits and South Australian companies are at the forefront of innovations in the sector.
Nano-satellite pioneer Fleet Space Technologies has recently been awarded a $6.4m contract with Australia’s Defence Space Command to develop a low Earth orbit satellite communications system for tactical communications and data transmission where there is limited connectivity. In an Australian first, Fleet will work with the CRC, Defence Science and Technology Group, the University of South Australia and Rice Satcom Pty Ltd to enhance satellite communications to meet Defence’s needs using revolutionary commercial space technology.
Adelaide-based Neumann Space is also setting a new standard for in-space electric propulsion, with its world-leading “Neumann Drive” that uses a solid metallic molybdenum propellant in its thruster systems, on-track to achieve space flight heritage this year.
A centre for education and R&D excellence
South Australia is focused on building a pipeline of Australian space industry talent.
The International Space University’s Southern Hemisphere Space Scholarship Program is centred in Adelaide, providing a platform for emerging talent to gain essential skills in the space industry.
The state’s universities have also boosted their course offerings, including; Outer Space Governance at Flinders University; The University of Adelaide’s Space Fundamentals Course and the University of South Australia’s Global Executive MBA (Defence and Space).
Adding to this, the Australian Research Council’s research centre for Excellence in Plants for Space (P4S) has been established in Adelaide. Led by The University of Adelaide (UoA), P4S research will create the flexible, plant-based solutions needed to support human physical and psychological well-being during deep space travel and settlement.
The nation’s first Extraterrestrial Environmental Simulation Laboratory has also been established at the UoA. The Lab is providing researchers with the opportunity to simulate and test equipment in lunar and Martian surface environments, fast-tracking technologies needed to support a sustainable long-term presence on the Moon and beyond.
South Australia’s space industry is pushing the frontiers of space innovation and knowledge. This exciting momentum will create opportunities in the sector now and for decades to come.
Learn more at sasic.sa.gov.au