Canberra: Australia’s national space hub

Canberra’s Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants to make the Canberra the national hub of Australia’s space economy and grab a piece of the US$314 billion global space industry.

The extra-terrestrial push aims to create jobs in aeronautical research and development and in the wider knowledge economy with an industry cluster with Mount Stromlo’s Space Research and Innovation Hub at its core.

Mr Barr said: “Becoming a hub of will allow Canberra to continue attracting and retaining researchers to our city – playing to our strengths and creating more jobs.”

Canberra already has a solid reputation as one of Australia’s knowledge capitals, with one in every nine Canberrans either working or studying at one of the city’s tertiary education institutions.

Canberra is already blazing an intergalactic trial and is home to significant space infrastructure.

It has the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, which runs one of three stations in NASA’s Deep Space Network – a network of antennas that communicate with deep spacecraft and mission teams on earth.

Canberra also has the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC), where the next generation of high-tech space-based instruments and small satellites are developed and tested and the EOS Laser Ranging Facility, which is used to track space debris for the Space Environment Research Centre.

As well, the Australian National University Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics is a leader in technical research and collaboration and leads Australia’s input into the international consortium developing the Giant Magellan Telescope.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Ian Young said the university would be pleased to back a Space Research and Innovation Hub, which the government recently announced would get $50,000 funding.

“ANU is home to some of the world’s best space research facilities and instruments and has recently been involved in testing the next generation in satellite technology,” Professor Young said.

“The ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics has a strong track record of collaboration with industry and government partners and looks forward to working with the ACT government to further develop Australia’s space industry,” he said.

Mr Barr said the ACT Government had been working with key organisations such as ANU, UNSW Canberra and EOS Space Systems to explore and develop Canberra’s potential.

“There is an upcoming meeting of industry ministers, the ACT Government will be arguing that it is time to take this exciting industry growth agenda forward,” Mr Barr said. “I look forward to working with the Commonwealth and the other states and the Northern Territory to develop this important 21st Century industry.”


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