The Australian Space Agency (ASA) today signed a statement of strategic intent with European manufacturing giant Airbus, representing a significant step in growing the capability and competitiveness of Australia’s space sector.
FILE PHOTO: By Brian Hartigan.
The statement of intent, which is the first to be signed by ASA with an industry partner, includes Airbus’ support for space discovery, technology development and connectivity, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in Australia.
Head of the Australian Space Agency Megan Clark said the Australian Space Agency was committed to a transparent and significant engagement with industry.
“Our purpose is to transform and grow the Australian space sector, and the broader use of space across the country’s economy, to inspire and deliver benefit to all Australians,” Dr Clark said.
“We welcome Airbus’ choice of Australia for the world’s first operations of the Zephyr and Skynet 5 platforms.
“We also welcome Airbus’ efforts to actively support STEM education and training opportunities in Australia and internationally.”
Pierre Jaffre, President Airbus Asia-Pacific said Airbus aimed to support projects and partnerships that contribute to growth and jobs in Australia, with a special focus on innovation and skills.
“We look forward to working with the Australian Space Agency, as well as the country’s academia, SMEs and start-ups, to develop Australia’s space sovereign capability,” Mr Jaffre said.
“This includes nurturing and developing areas of strategic priority and technologies identified by an expert reference group panel.
“Airbus and the Australian Space Agency have a shared interest in enhancing the competitiveness and capability of the Australian space industry.
“This includes the growing importance of commercialisation at every point along the space value-added chain, from research and development to high-tech manufacturing, transportation, satellite operations and consumer services based on satellite signals and data.”
Airbus Defence and Space has a major presence in Australia. In 2011, the Royal Australian Air Force became the launch operator of the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) which it designates locally as the KC-30A.
Airbus has also been supplying earth observation satellite imagery to the Australian market for more than 25 years, and the company’s fully integrated optical and radar satellite constellation enables daily acquisitions at high resolutions.
In 2016, a brand new purpose built satellite ground station was established in Adelaide to land Airbus Defence and Space’s Skynet secure military satellite communications.
In June 2018, Airbus selected Wyndham airfield in Western Australia as the first flight base for its pioneering Zephyr solar-powered unmanned aircraft.
The government officially established the Australian Space Agency on 1 July 2018.