Australia looks to the stars for new industries

| January 10, 2018

Australia is undergoing a huge transformation in its space industry. More than ever, our local space industry is buzzing with the most ambitious minds across the nation looking to the stars to solve our future challenges. Fleet Space Technologies founder Flava Tata Nardini comments.

 Five years ago, Australia had only one space startup, Saber Astronautics. However things are changing: fast-forward to today and the space startup ecosystem is a flurry of activity with over 60 startups funded largely by private backers, and contributing to the ever-growing, ever-innovating space industry.
Over the past year alone, the developments and attention to the local space industry have been extraordinary. We’ve witnessed leading space experts from all corners of the globe attend the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide; we’ve observed the successful deployment of three Australian-built research CubeSats into orbit; and marvelled at New Zealand’s Rocket Lab’s first launch.
And this has all been achieved while the legislative work in establishing a space agency is still in the pipeline.
In September this year, the Australian Federal Government announced that they would review the proposition to establish a national space agency to further boost jobs and grow our fledgling space startups. This announcement marked a turning point for the local space industry. Now, rather than looking overseas for regulatory and logistical support from space agencies, or seeking offshore private funding to grow, Australia’s space businesses will be afforded greater support at home. This, in turn, will keep the businesses onshore and will allow the space industry — one of the fastest growing industries to date — to contribute to Australia’s economy.  
But it goes further: The importance of a national space agency extends beyond legislation and economic investment, it’s an enormous step forward for national STEM education and aerospace research. The formation of a national space agency will now place us in a position to inspire the next generation of young Australians to look to space to pursue their dreams and undertake incredible careers — something that I have always been extremely passionate about, ever since I co-founded LaunchBox, an education company that puts space technology in the hands of school students.
As the strategy and plans for the national space agency emerge and begin to take shape over the upcoming months and years, it’s vital for industry and government to collaborate to ensure that the legislative and economic framework implemented fosters an environment for local companies to be globally competitive.
To maintain the momentum created in the fast-growing Australian space industry, we must also look for commercial opportunities that are purposeful and show the value of space technologies in our daily lives. Applications in precision agriculture, national security operations, logistics management and even maritime safety, are just a few areas that space will have an impact.
Space technology is on the verge of revolutionising nearly every facet of life as we know from helping businesses find new and efficient ways of working; monitoring environmental challenges; and embedding new technologies and instantaneous data into our personal daily activities. It’s vital that we strive to innovate and continually pursue the life-changing applications of technology, as well as space exploration, to solve the future challenges we are set to face here on Earth.
The linchpin for the next industrial revolution is the advancement of space technologies — Australia has the perfect breeding ground to be at the forefront of this change. Industry and government must stand together to promote STEM education and develop life-changing technology see our local space industry stand the test of time.