SA, WA first to land Government’s space infrastructure grant

The Federal Government has announced it has opened grant applications for two out the seven proposed infrastructure projects as part of its Space Infrastructure Fund (SIF).
 

The $19.5 million SIF, announced as part of the Government’s 2019-2020 Budget, will kick start Australia’s burgeoning aerospace industries, offering eligible businesses and researchers funding to pursue and develop seven core activities proposed under the Fund.

Nearly a third of the total funding pool will go to establishing the Adelaide-based Mission Control Centre, which will be awarded a single grant of $6 million. The Centre, to be established at the Lot Fourteen urban renewal site in Adelaide's centre, will allow start-ups, SMEs, and researchers to control satellite missions as well as access space-enabled data.

The Centre will also provide assistance to the Australian Space Agency, likewise based in Adelaide, the Government's designated nurture hub for Australia’s commercial space industry. 

While some of the better recognised national space agencies, including NASA, Roscosmos, and the European Space Agency, are almost entirely publicly funded, the Australian Space Agency is instead tasked with developing and coordinating the private sector in developing space technologies.

Western Australia will take the next biggest share of the SIF pie, with $4.5 million to be directed to establishing the Robotics, Automation and AI Command and Control Centre. The WA-based Command and Control Centre will be responsible for coordinating SMEs and researchers to control autonomous operations in space.

The Centre will be tasked will supporting the development and operation of robotic and remote asset management activities in space, as well as Earth-based activities that spur the development of these capabilities across Australia.

The remaining five proposed projects to be funded through the SIF include the NSW-based space manufacturing facilities, the Tasmania-based tracking facilities upgrade (supporting precision tracking of satellites and spacecraft), the WA-based space data analysis facilities, and, finally, the space payload qualification facilities and 'pathway to launch' programs, both to be established nationally.

The seven projects support the Government's ‘National pillar' to increase the capability of the local space sector as part of the Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028. 

More information on each grant can be found here.