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Australia to establish a national space agency and develop satellite infrastructure

Australia to establish a national space agency and develop satellite infrastructure

According
to the Australian
Budget 2018/19
, the Australian Government will invest more
than A$300 million
to kick-start the country’s space industry and develop
world-leading core satellite infrastructure.

Australia’s first national space agency

A$41 million
is earmarked for the country to establish its first national
space agency
over the next 4 years. This funding includes A$15 million
dedicated to partnering with international space agencies to enable Australian
businesses to compete in the global space economy. The move will help Australian
businesses capture opportunities in the global space industry which is estimated
to worth US$345 billion a year.

Commencing
its operation on 1 July 2018, the Australian Space Agency will have four core
responsibilities: (1) support the development of Australia’s space industry so
that it can compete effectively in the global space sector, (2) coordinate
domestic activities in Australia’s space sector, (3) engage closely with key
stakeholders, including state and territory governments, to identify
opportunities to harness industry advantages and create a globally competitive
space industry in Australia, and (4) facilitate international space engagement,
both in policy and industry forums, to build the networks needed to develop
Australia’s space capability and ensure our industry players can access global
supply chains.

The
agency will also administer legislative arrangements for Australian civil
space activities, ensuring that these activities are in Australia’s national
interests and align to the country’s international obligations in space.

Better GPS and satellite technology and infrastructure

In
its drive for a smart economy that is anchored on science and technology, Australia
will also support the development of global positioning system (GPS) and
satellite technology and infrastructure, and research into artificial
intelligence (AI) to create jobs and support Australian industry.

The Australian
Government will invest over
A$260 million
to develop world-leading core satellite infrastructure
and technologies, including better global positioning system (GPS), to significantly
improve the accuracy and availability of satellite positioning across Australia.

“More
accurate GPS will improve productivity by allowing new technology to be created
and used across the economy. Growing Australia’s digital economy will also
benefit developed sectors such as mining, transport, construction, aviation and
agriculture,” Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator the Hon
Matt Canavan said.

The
investment includes a A$225 million to improve the accuracy of GPS in
Australia. This will improve productivity by allowing business to create new
technologies. Under the package, $160.9 million will deliver a Satellite-Based
Augmentation System
(SBAS) which is the technology underpinning GPS to
improve the reliability and the accuracy of positioning data from five metres
to 10 centimetres­­ across Australia and its maritime zone.

A
$64 million investment in the National
Positioning Infrastructure Capability
(NPIC) will complement SBAS to
improve GPS to an accuracy as precise as 3cm in areas of Australia with access
to mobile coverage.

More
accurate GPS can improve transport logistics, surveying, agriculture and marine
navigation. For example, GPS technology can help logistics companies plan
supply movements more efficiently, minimising the time vehicles are left idling
between assignments.

Better
GPS technology will also enable farmers to access precision agricultural
technologies that allow them to more accurately sow seeds in between rows of
harvested crops and manage the distribution of water, fertiliser and
herbicides.

“Our
investment in this world-standard technology will have direct benefits
including virtual fencing for farms and better management of cattle and
livestock over vast distances,” Minister Canavan said.

At
the same time, the Government is also investing A$36.9 million to provide
greater access to reliable, standardised satellite data that identify physical
changes to the Australian environment. This will help Australian agricultural,
mining and marine industries improve their efficiency, reduce waste and improve
environmental management practices. The Bureau
of Meteorology
’s technology platform will be upgraded to ensure farmers can
continue to receive the essential weather information they need.

A
further $36.9 million is for Digital
Earth Australia
, a world-class technology that will give Australian
businesses greater access to reliable, standardised satellite data that
identifies physical changes to the Australian environment.