January 16, 2021

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Australian government releases space roadmap for comm-tech and services

The Australian Civil Space Strategy recently identified 7 National Civil Space Priority Areas. These Priority Areas will deliver the greatest opportunity for the Australian space sector.

The development of roadmaps under each of these Priority Areas will:

  • guide and inform industry, research, and government
  • map out the future workforce
  • align the space sector
  • advance the Australian space industry over the next decade

The development of each of the 7 roadmaps took place over 2020 and will continue over 2021.

The first roadmap, Communications Technologies and Services provides strategic direction to support the growth of the industry. This will assist other areas of the economy including agriculture, remote medicine and resources. It will contribute to securing the future of Australia’s space sector over the next 10 years.

The Communications Technologies and Services Roadmap prioritises six focus segments. These include:

  • low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite services
  • optical ground stations
  • hybrid RF-optical
  • reconfigurable networks, radios, modems and waveforms
  • satellite communication network management tools
  • quantum-enabled communications

Industry, researchers and Australian government agencies have contributed to the development of this roadmap. Peer space agencies and stakeholder organisations supported validation of Australia’s state-of-the-art capabilities, technologies and opportunities.

Along with the space sector, roadmaps will inform adjacent sectors, including:

  • mining and energy
  • defence and national security
  • agriculture and natural resources
  • remote medicine
  • environmental and disaster management

Introductions to the Communications Services and Technologies Roadmap will take place in early 2021.

Growing Australia’s space sector

According to the Communications Technologies and Services Roadmap for 2021-2030, space technologies and services touch virtually every sector of the Australian economy. Space capabilities are drawn on by Australian farmers to monitor the health of their crops, by marine pilots to guide cruise liners, by emergency workers to plan and respond to bushfires, and by scientists to study the effects and impact of droughts.

When positioned alongside other core industries like manufacturing, resources and agriculture, space is also an enabler of industry growth and will help Australia’s economy emerge out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Government launched Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019 – 2028 (the Strategy) in 2019 to provide a long-term framework to grow and transform the national civil space sector. The Strategy has four strategic space pillars: international, national, responsible, and inspire, which are central to achieving this vision.

Activities under the space pillars are guided by seven National Civil Space Priority Areas: position, navigation and timing; Earth observation; communications technologies and services; space situational awareness and debris monitoring; leapfrog R&D; robotics and automation on Earth and in space; and access to space.

The priority areas capture the unique strengths of the space industry which can be further developed to advance Australia’s competitiveness and role as a responsible actor in civil space activities. The ultimate goal of the Strategy is to triple the size of the sector to $12 billion and create up to another 20,000 jobs by 2030, with further jobs and industry growth from spill-over effects.