Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can lend their expertise to this growing sector.

Australia’s space sector has been making progress toward the government goal of tripling the value of the sector from $4 billion AUD ($2.9 billion USD) to $12 billion AUD ($8.8 billion USD) by 2030. According to a report released by KPMG in February 2020, industry revenue in 2018-19 grew by 5%, reaching $5.1 billion AUD ($3.7 billion USD).

In 2018, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Centre (CSIRO) released the Space Roadmap, highlighting opportunities for future growth in the Australian space industry. The document identified short-, medium- and long-term opportunities that would develop the business ecosystem, infrastructure and capabilities, and research and development across three focus areas: space-derived services, space object tracking, and space exploration and utilization.

These focus areas were similarly echoed in the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028, which outlined seven National Civil Space Priority Areas: position, navigation and timing; earth observation; communications technologies and services; space situational awareness and debris monitoring; leapfrog research and development; robotics and automation on earth and in space; and access to space.

As of January 2020, $200 million AUD ($146 million USD) in government investment had been committed over the next five years, with $41 million AUD ($30 million USD) going toward the establishment of the Australian Space Agency, which opened its headquarters in February 2020, and $19.5 million AUD ($14.3 million USD) and $6 million AUD ($4 million USD) committed to the Space Infrastructure Fund and Space Discovery Centre respectively.

Also included was a commitment of $150 million AUD ($110 million USD) to support Australian businesses in the nation’s involvement in the Moon to Mars program by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Other significant funding initiatives include:

  • $7 billion AUD ($5 billion USD) committed as part of the Defence Strategic Update for space capability growth programs over the next 10 years (see here). Of note, the Australian Department of Defence is currently seeking expressions of interest on a tender for a Strategic Partner for the Resilient Multi-Mission Space Star Shot Program.
  • $260 million AUD ($190 million USD) for Geoscience Australia, which will go toward funding Digital Earth Australia and developing Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) and ground station capabilities (see here)
  • $55 million AUD ($40 million USD) for SmartSat CRC, a consortium of universities and research organizations partnered with industry

As the Australian space sector is still relatively young and continues to attract new investment, U.S. companies may find that they are well positioned to offer their expertise to the sector in partnership with Australian businesses and organizations that are looking to fill gaps in local infrastructure and capabilities needed to help the sector grow.

Wisconsin companies seeking to connect with opportunities in the Australian space sector are encouraged to register an account with AusTender to find out about government contracting opportunities, familiarize themselves with the CSIRO Roadmap and stay up to date with news and developments by reading Space Connect.