WA's space industry gets fed funding boost

10/07/2019 - 12:57

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The federal government has signed a memorandum of understanding to invest $6 million in Western Australia's space industry so the state can play a significant role in the broader national expansion plan.

Dave Kelly says the funding will unlock national and international opportunities for WA businesses.

The federal government has signed a memorandum of understanding to invest $6 million in Western Australia's space industry so the state can play a significant role in the broader national expansion plan.

Most of the funds will be put towards a robotics and artificial intelligence mission control facility, while the remainder will be spent supporting space data analysis facilities.

The data benefits earth-based areas such as mining, agriculture, emergency services and maritime surveillance, while the mission control facility will work on remotely operating autonomous and robotic systems in space.

The WA government has so far allocated $2 million for its joint work with the Adelaide-based Australian Space Agency and will consider further funding in future budgets.

The ASA was established last year and seeks to triple the size of the nation's space sector, with a total investment commitment to date of $73.2 million.

Science Minister Dave Kelly said the funding would unlock national and international opportunities for WA businesses and academia to grow the state's space industry.

"The robotics and artificial intelligence mission control facility will be a key component in the development of the nation's capability to advance robotic and autonomous activities in space,” he said.

Australian Space Agency head Megan Clark also welcomed the signing of today's agreement with the WA government.

"WA hosts significant civil and defence space infrastructure including the recently opened Airbus Zephyr flight base, has existing collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency, and will support the Agency's role in strengthening Australia's relationship with these and other international space agencies," she said.

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