27 May 2016
PREMIER SEES BRIGHT FUTURE FOR SPACE INDUSTRY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The SIAA/Defence SA Space Industry Forum held in Adelaide on 27 May was attended by over 100 industry, government and university representatives.
Opening the forum, the SA Premier, Jay Weatherill, said South Australia had "the brains, the infrastructure and the technical expertise to become an increasingly prominent player in the global space industry. This major event will enable South Australian companies, research centres and universities to build international relationships. The space industry is growing at an incredibly rapid rate and we are committed to maximising job opportunities for South Australia and continuing on our path towards a high tech future."
He added that his support for the SIAA bid to host the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide went back to his time as Minister of Education. He reiterated the SA Government's strong support for the Congress and wished the organisers great success.
The Defence SA Chief Executive, Andy Keough, said "If the vision that we aspire to in SA is a clear one, I'd love to see the day when my children and the children of others who are bright enough, keen enough, engaged and excited by this industry, can actually see that there are opportunities for them in SA and more broadly in Australia rather than having to run off to NASA. A real test of our strategy will be to make sure that the event is not a big flash before we go through another decade of doing nothing; but is another stepping stone up to promote the opportunities within South Australia."
The forum also heard from Stuart Lindley of BAe Systems, Peter Nikoloff of Nova Systems and Dr Alex Grant of Myriota. Each outlined their current activities and plans for global projects using locally generated intellectual property and enabled by satellite technologies.
25 May 2016
SA PREMIER TO OPEN SPACE INDUSTRY FORUM IN ADELAIDE
The South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, will open a Space Industry Forum on Friday 27 May jointly organised by Defence SA and the Space Industry Association of Australia. The event will highlight opportunities for Australian industry to leverage the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC2017) to be held in Adelaide from 25-29 September 2017.
The strong support of the South Australian Government was a key factor in the SIAA’s successful bid to host IAC2017, the world’s biggest and most prestigious space event in Adelaide. The Premier will reinforce the unique benefits that hosting the congress will generate for the South Australian community. He will also refer to South Australia’s emerging potential as a leading centre of the nation’s space R&D and entrepreneurship activities.
The Forum will include presentations from established and emerging private sector organisations involved in space-related projects and based in South Australia. It will highlight South Australia’s track record and speakers will also emphasise the importance of developing Australia’s space capabilities as a key element of the national science and innovation agenda. They will also explain the role of IAC2017 in stimulating the national space sector by exposing Australia’s space science and technological expertise to an influential world audience.
Speakers at the forum will include:
For more information or interviews, contact:
20 May 2016
HYPERSONIC TEST FLIGHT A SUCCESS IN AUSSIE OUTBACK
13 May 2016
SUPPLEMENTARY SUBMISSION TO THE SPACE ACTIVITIES ACT REVIEW
The SIAA has released a Supplementary Submission to the Space Activities Act Review which includes a statistical analysis of the probable cost to the Australian Government of waiving the insurance/financial requirement for overseas launch certificates under the existing legislation in appropriate cases.
To read the Supplementary Submission, click here.
To read the main submission, click here.
4 May 2016
GREEN PAPER ON 2016/17 COMMONWEALTH BUDGET
The SIAA has released its annual Green Paper setting out the impact of Commonwealth Budget announcements on the civil space sector in Australia. To read the Green Paper - click here
2 May 2016
NEW SIAA CONSTITUTION TO BE CONSIDERED BY MEMBERS
The SIAA Executive Council has decided that it is an appropriate time to transition the Association to national incorporation as a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act (Commonwealth). At the same time the governance structure of the association has been reviewed and the Executive Council has recommended a governing board of seven elected member representatives and a 15 person Advisory Council. The new constitution and structure are designed to support the growth and increasing scale of the Association's activities, as well as the national character of the Association.
The new Constitution will be considered for adoption by SIAA members at a Special General Meeting to be convened at 5 pm on Thursday 26 May at the Adelaide Convention Centre. To read the proposed Constitution and associated documents click here.
Comments and questions should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
30 April 2016
SIAA MAKES IMPORTANT SUBMISSION TO THE SPACE ACTIVITIES ACT REVIEW
A comprehensive submission outlining the SIAA's position on a range of issues related to the future of Australia's space endeavours was today sent to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. The SIAA congratulated the Government on this initiative and acknowledged that innovation in space technologies should be a key goal in the development of a national vision for the Australian space sector. The submission stressed that it is important for Australia to maintain the Space Activities Act licensing regime but argued that the administrative and financial burdens on Australian organisations should be proportionate to the scale and cost of the launch or satellite activity to be licensed. Particular attention was paid to possible reforms of the Overseas Launch Certificate rules, which is a matter of current concern to a number of new industry entrants.
To download and read the full submission click here.
7 April 2016
PUBLICATION OF APAC REPORT ON AUSTRALIAN SPACE CAPABILITIES
The latest report commissioned by the Australian Government on Australian space capabilities entitled ‘A selective review of Australian space capabilities: Growth Opportunities in Global Supply Chains and Space Enabled Services’ authored by SIAA member Asia Pacific Aerospace Consultants has just been published.
The 111 page report can be downloaded here
We will be carefully studying the report and will keep members informed of all discussions and developments arising out of the report.
25 February 2016
SIAA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ELECTS OFFICEHOLDERS FOR 2016
At the first Executive Council meeting for 2016 held at the University of New South Wales, Canberra the following SIAA officeholders were elected:
Chair: Michael Davis
The outgoing Chair, Roger Franzen, was thanked for his service to the SIAA, noting that he has been active in the European and Australian space engineering industries for nearly 30 years is one of Australia's most experienced and respected space professionals. The outgoing Deputy Chair, Stephen Ward was also thanked for his input to the Executive over several years.
The incoming Chair, Michael Davis, has 24 years’ experience in space law, policy and education in the Australian and international space sectors, including as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Telecommunications Research at the University of South Australia, Co-Director of the ISU Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program and as a member of the SIAA Executive since 1998.
1 February 2016
ERNST & YOUNG EVALUATION OF AUSTRALIAN SPACE RESEARCH PROGRAM RELEASED
Ernst & Young's Report 'Final evaluation of the Australian Space Research Program' was submitted to the Australian Government in November 2015.
The Report concluded that:
'Australia needs assured and secured access to space-based systems and services, not dissimilar to the need for terrestrial forms of national critical infrastructure such as utilities and transport. Government involvement in securing this access is needed. The efficacy of the market for spacebased systems and services is constrained by public good characteristics, the potential for knowledge spillover and the complexity of the space sector. Government can support access to space-based systems through a pragmatic approach that develops our space capability and builds our credibility internationally.
At the same time, there are unique features of Australia’s land mass and geography which present strategic advantages in developing niche but organic space industries, such as hosting ground station instruments.
The ASRP provided an appropriate and adequate funding source for the initial capability definition and testing of the range of space technology platforms sought by Australian industry (including academic, research and business sectors). These projects have been crucial in underpinning the more commercial (and over time, economic) elements of Australia’s space sector development in the medium term.'
To read the full report, click here
27 November 2015
SIAA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL FOR 2016 ELECTED
The SIAA Annual General Meeting was held in Sydney on 27 November 2015. There were 21 candidates for election for 15 positions and it was necessary to hold a ballot. New members elected to the SIAA Executive Council at the AGM were Michael de la Chappelle (Boeing), Naomi Mathers (Australian National University) and Mark Ramsey. The Executive Office Holders will be elected from the members of the Executive Council at its first meeting in February 2016.
24 October 2015
SPACE INDUSTRY WELCOMES REVIEW OF SPACE ACTIVITIES ACT
The Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) welcomes and strongly supports today’s announcement by the Hon Christopher Pyne, MP, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, that the Space Activities Act will be reviewed.
The Act came into force in and reflected the circumstances and priorities of the time. It was predicated on the assumption that the civil space industry sector in Australia would involve large launch vehicles launching large satellites into space. This has not happened.
The risk and liability assumptions that underpin the Act in its current form are acting as a brake on the of a viable Australian space industry”, said Brett Biddington, a spokesperson for the SIAA.
The revolution in computing combined with miniaturisation and advanced manufacturing techniques now means that much smaller, but capable, satellites can be built. These satellites can also act as concept demonstrators and test-beds for larger systems.
There are a number of Australian entrepreneurs and start-up companies just champing at the bit to move space projects forward. There are active cubesat (10cm x 10cm x 10cm satellites) projects at several Australian universities that have significant potential to stimulate technology transfer and new business models for Australian firms. There is now the infrastructure in Australia to fabricate, test and qualify small satellites and space-based sensors. Also there are several Australian launch proposals under development.
Mr Biddington said that the review of the Act could not have come at a better time. Industry is primed and the review of the Act promises to stimulate 21st Century industry development and innovation and a sector of increasing importance to the national economy. There is also important export potential.
The SIAA is committed to working closely with Government on the review and will encourage its members and other interested parties to participate in the public consultation process to achieve the best possible outcome.
14 August 2015
SIAA STATEMENT ON ASSISTANT TREASURER'S COMMENTS ON ABC'S Q&A PROGRAM, MONDAY 11 AUGUST 2015
As the peak organisation responsible for speaking on behalf of the Australian space industry, the SIAA has responded to comments made by the Assistant Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, on the ABC's Q&A program about the current state of the Australian space sector. According to SIAA Chair, Roger Franzen, 'the SIAA believes that It is important that the level of support currently provided for our national space activities is fully understood, so that it can be accurately compared with the level of support for similar activities in other countries. This will help to place our current activities in context.'
To read the full statement click here
3 June 2015
GIANT MAGELLAN TELESCOPE'S INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS APPROVE START OF CONSTRUCTION PHASE
Collaborators secure over US$500 million for historic project to build giant optical telescope
PASADENA, Calif. – June 3, 2015— The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization has announced today that its 11 international partners have committed more than US$500 million to begin construction of the first of a new generation of extremely large telescopes. Once it is built, the Giant Magellan Telescope is poised to be the largest optical telescope in the world.
The Giant Magellan Telescope’s seven mirrors span 25 meters and will focus more than six times the amount of light of the current largest optical telescopes into images up to 10 times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope. The GMT will enable astronomers to look deeper into space and further back in time than ever before. The telescope is expected to see first light in 2021 and be fully operational by 2024.
"The GMT will herald the beginning of a new era in astronomy. It will reveal the first objects to emit light in the universe, explore the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter, and identify potentially habitable planets in the Earth’s galactic neighborhood," said Wendy Freedman, chair of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) Board of Directors and University Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. "The decision by the GMTO partner institutions to start construction is a crucial milestone on our journey to making these amazing discoveries using state-of-the-art science, technology and engineering."
GMTO President Edward Moses said, "The GMT is a global scientific collaboration, with institutional partners in Australia, Brazil, Korea, the United States, and in host nation Chile. The construction approval means work will begin on the telescope’s core structure and the scientific instruments that lie at the heart of this US$1 billion project. Early preparation for construction has included groundwork at the mountaintop site at Las Campanas in northern Chile, and initial fabrication of the telescope’s seven enormous primary mirror segments."
Professor Matthew Colless, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Director of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at The Australian National University, said the construction approval was an exciting moment for astronomy.
"Plans that have existed only in two dimensions or as computer models are about to become a three--- dimensional reality in glass, steel, and high---tech semiconductor and composite materials," said Colless. "The Giant Magellan Telescope will provide astronomers and astrophysicists with the opportunity to truly transform our view of the universe and our place within it."
To access the video news package including interviews with GMTO partners and b-roll, as well as images and video graphics of the Giant Magellan Telescope, please visit: www.gmto.org/gallery
The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is slated to be the first in a new class of extremely large telescopes, capable of producing images with 10 times the clarity of those captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The GMT aims to discover Earth---like planets around nearby stars and the tiny distortions that black holes cause in the light from distant stars and galaxies. It will reveal the faintest objects ever seen in space, including extremely distant and ancient galaxies, the light from which has been travelling to Earth since shortly after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. The telescope will be built at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Las Campanas Observatory in the dry, clear air of Chile’s Atacama Desert, in a dome 22 stories high. GMT is expected to see first light in 2021 and be fully operational by 2024.
The telescope’s 25.4 meter (82 feet) primary mirror will comprise seven separate 8.4 meter (27 feet) diameter segments. Each mirror segment weighs 17 tons and takes one year to cast and cool, followed by more than three years of surface generation and meticulous polishing at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab of the Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. Funding for the project comes from the partner institutions, governments and private donors.
About the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization
The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) manages the GMT project on behalf of its international partners: Astronomy Australia Ltd., The Australian National University, Carnegie Institution for Science, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Harvard University, Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, Smithsonian Institution, Texas A&M University, The University of Arizona, The University of Chicago, and The University of Texas at Austin.
Connect with the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization on social media: gplus.to/gmtelescope, twitter.com/GMTelescope, facebook.com/GMTelescope and visit http://www.gmto.org
14 May 2015
FIRST STAGES OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASTRONAUTICAL CONGRESS ANNOUNCED
The Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) has unveiled the logo for the International Astronautical Congress to be held in Adelaide in 2017 and announced the team who will bring the event to fruition.The IAC2017 logo, unveiled by Minister Gago representing the Premier of South Australia at a function held at the Adelaide Oval represents both Australia’s indigenous heritage as well as the stars highlight the Astronautical Industry and the nation’s flag.
Chair of the Space Industry Association, Mr Roger Franzen also announced the local organising committee who will be working globally to promote the overall event, promote Adelaide as a destination, encourage attendance by interested and relevant parties from around the world, liaise with national and international organisations who will participate in the exhibition being held alongside the congress and of course stage and manage an incredible event. The organising committee will be advised by and consult with Andy Thomas throughout the process. (See list below)
This congress will bring $20m to South Australia and is the largest international conference to date to name Adelaide as its host city. The population of the Adelaide CBD will increase by an expected 3000 delegates during the 5 day congress which is a huge undertaking for organisers - one that will take every minute of the 2 year lead time. The event, to be held in the week of 25-29 Sep 2017, follows closely on the opening of the final stage of the $350m redevelopment of the Adelaide Convention Centre.
Special guests at the cocktail function included representatives from the event’s anchor sponsor the Lockheed Martin Corporation, including from the USA, Mrs Mary Snitch and Ms Lyn Hansen as well as Mr Raydon Gates, CEO of Lockheed Martin Australia. Mrs Snitch and Ms Hansen had flown into Adelaide on a familiarisation tour of the city and its conferencing facilities and hotels.
Mr Gates said “Lockheed Martin is honoured to support IAC2017 in Adelaide and looks forward to helping the local organising committee deliver a Congress that is both memorable for delegates and advances the Australian space industry”
Mr Roger Franzen, Chair SIAA said “Australia has a proud but not well-documented heritage in space. Much activity has been in the national security domain and is shrouded in secrecy. In South Australia, the missile projects at Woomera, especially in the 1950’s and 60’s, contributed to our space heritage.
“The space industry today touches our lives in more ways than ever before with our reliance on satellites in particular. The global economy has fundamental dependencies on satellites, as do individuals. We take for granted, the services provided by communications, timing and navigation and Earth observation and remote sensing satellites. We also wonder at the far universe as we learn more about it through the Hubble space telescope and ground based telescopes, including those located in Australia that continue to push the boundaries of human knowledge and understanding” he said.
The IAC2017 will most certainly focus the attention of the world on Adelaide and Australia’s contribution to the latest developments in the Space and Astronautical industry.
The local organising committee for IAC2017 includes experts from South Australia and interstate. The team is:
27 November 2014
SIAA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL FOR 2015 ELECTED
The SIAA Annual General Meeting was held in Sydney on 27 November 2014. Once again there were more candidates for election (20) than positions (15) and it was necessary to hold a ballot.
Members elected to the SIAA Executive Council at the AGM were: David Ball, Bill Barrett, Nigel Basheer, Russell Boyce, Michael Davis, Andrew Dempster,Rod Drury, Roger Franzen, Alice Gorman, Kirby Ikin, Jeff Kasparian, Peter Nikoloff, Chris Schacht, Jack Scott, Stephen Ward.
3 October 2014
IAC2017 TO BE HELD IN ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA
The Space Industry Association of Australia’s bid to host the world’s most prestigious space congress has been successful.
Against stiff competition, Adelaide Australia was chosen today as the venue of the International Astronautical Congress in September 2017 by the General Assembly of the International Astronautical Federation, meeting in Toronto. Over 3,000 international delegates will attend the week long congress in Adelaide at the newly redeveloped Adelaide Convention Centre, providing a significant economic boost to the local economy.
The successful bid was the culmination of a four year campaign on behalf of the Australian space community to promote the importance of space science and technology to Australia’s future by attracting this major industry event.
The bid was strongly supported by the Government of South Australia and key anchor sponsor, Lockheed Martin Corporation. The Australian Government, through the Department of Industry and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was also a key supporter, together with the 60 corporate, university and individual members of the SIAA and the 11 Australian institutional members of the International Astronautical Federation.
The Chair of the SIAA, Michael Davis, said the successful bid was due to a fantastic team effort, coordinated by the bid leader, Brett Biddington AM, and ably supported by the Adelaide Convention Bureau. “The decision to award the Congress to Australia demonstrates that Australia is highly regarded as an emerging player in the international space community. We have been given the opportunity to demonstrate to the world we making an important contribution as an industry to the economic and social well-being of our own nation as well as to the international effort to harness the benefits of space science and technology to combat global problems.”
Mr Biddington added that the 2017 Congress will be aiming point for the Australian space community in its efforts to implement a coherent national program to take advantage of our extensive scientific and engineering capabilities. “This will enable us to obtain a greater share in the benefits of the $300 billion global space economy and ensure that our local space industry participates in the transition to a national economy that takes full advantage of scientific research and advanced technology to create new industry opportunities and rewarding careers for young Australians.”
To download this announcement click here.
For further information:
5 July 2014
The Space Industry Association of Australia is working to put together a program that makes it easier for the best young professionals in the Australian space sector to get space experience internationally. The program is intended to match young professionals with US and European companies with significant space engineering activities for short term internships or longer term graduate style programs.
By participating in this survey, you're helping us to make sure
the program is designed to meet the needs of young space professionals and
28 April 2014
SIAA LODGES FORMAL BID TO HOST IAC2017
The Chair of the SIAA, Michael Davis, was
pleased to announce that the SIAA's formal proposal for Adelaide Australia
to host the International Astronautical Congress in 2017 has been received
by the International Astronautical Federation in Paris.
22 November 2013
NEW SIAA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ELECTED
The SIAA Annual General Meeting was held in
Sydney on 14 November 2013.
For more details of the Executive Council
members, click here.
11 July 2013
SIAA offers one year's complimentary membership for Young Professionals
The SIAA at its Executive Council Meeting on 11 July 2013 in Adelaide decided to create a new category of membership for young professionals embarking upon careers in the space industry in lieu of its student category.
As an incentive to join the SIAA and participate in its activities, young professionals under the age of 30, including undergraduates, upon joining the SIAA will be offered one year's complimentary membership.
The new membership offer was announced by the SIAA Chair, Michael Davis, at the AYAA Aerospace Futures Conference on 12 July. In announcing the new category, Mr Davis noted that undergraduates interested in space are well served by other space-related associations including the AYAA and the AIAA but that membership of the SIAA will enable young professionals also to have their say in the policy formulation and advocacy role that the SIAA leads in Australia.
To download the membership application form click here.
9 April 2013
A significant milestone milestone in the history of Australian space took place today – the launch of the national Satellite Utilisation Policy by Minister responsible for space, Kate Lundy.
Highlights of the announcement were:
The focus of the national Satellite Utilisation Policy is on:
The Chair of the SIAA, Michael Davis, was co-facilitator of the Australian Space Research Program showcase event at Mount Stromlo immediately following the announcement. He took the opportunity to congratulate the government and the Space Policy Unit on the policy announcement and to express the association's willingness as the peak industry representative body to work with the government in the implementation of the policy and the further development of the Australian space industry. The ASRP showcase event was very well organised and the benefits to Australia generated by the ASRP were clearly articulated and acknowledged.
For further details see:
- the Minister’s media release
(no longer available)
For comment on Australian space industry issues contact:
12 February 2013
OFFICEHOLDERS FOR 2013 ELECTED
The SIAA has welcomed a new leadership
committee for 2013.
17 November 2010
At the Annual General Meeting held on 17 November 2010 the resolutions to change ASICC's name to Space Industry Association of Australia Inc, and to make other changes to the Constitution were passed unanimously.
The steps required to obtain approval for the change of name from the relevant government agency will now be taken.
In related news, informal SATCOM and Earth
Observation sub-groups of the Association are being convened. Expressions of
interest from the Australian space community are welcome.
ASICC Space Industry Forum in Adelaide attracts over 50 space industry Enthusiasts
Over 50 space industry enthusiasts attended a Space Industry Forum on 'The Politics of Space in Australia' at the University of South Australia in Adelaide on the evening of 4th May 2009. The panellists were Senator Annette Hurley, Chair of the Senate Economics Committee, Mr Grant Chapman, former parliamentarian and author of 'Space: A Priority for Australia' and Mr Chris Schacht, former Minister in the Hawke and Keating Governments. The facilitator was ASICC Chair, Brett Biddington.
The audience participated in a lively debate about the future directions of space policy in Australia, the importance of political support for a whole of government approach to space and was entertained by the recollections of Chris Schacht and Grant Chapman in relation to previous attempts to garner government support for space activities.
The participants were left to ponder a
critical question - should space policy in Australia be driven by arguments
that highlight the economic and social benefits of investing in space
related projects or should the emphasis be on the utility and benefits of
applications such as remote sensing, surveillance, geo-positioning,
environmental monitoring etc without drawing attention to the fact that they
may depend on space technologies?
15 November 2008
The Senate Economics Committee's report ‘Lost in Space? Setting a new direction for Australia's space science and industry sector’ was tabled in the Senate this week.
The Australian Space Industry Chamber of Commerce (ASICC), the country’s peak space industry representative body, welcomes the report and enthusiastically endorses its recommendations.
The Committee has produced a blueprint for Australia to participate in a global space industry that has revenues of US$250 billion per annum.
The report highlights Australia’s capabilities and experience in niche areas of space science and space technologies and notes the public benefits that would result from a greater national investment in space-related activities that would support meteorology and climate change monitoring, mining and farming, defence, coastal surveillance and transport.
ASICC has long argued that Australia would benefit from a greater government commitment to a long term space program.
We welcome the Committee’s recommendation that there should be a partnership of Government, industry, Defence and academic stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for the establishment of a national space agency.
We firmly believe that active and broad participation by industry on the proposed Space Industry Advisory Council will be an essential element for furthering Australia's space capabilities, and we look forward to working actively with the Government as a key member of the Council.
To read the Senate Report click here.
To read ASICC's Submission to the Senate Inquiry click here.
23 June 2008
The Senate Economics Committee released its
Interim Report into Australia’s Space Science and Industry Sector on 23
June. A copy can be downloaded by following this
1 May 2008
ASICC SUBMISSION TO SENATE INQUIRY RELEASED
ASICC's Submission to the Senate Inquiry into The Current State of Australia's Space Science & Industry Sector has been released and can be downloaded by following this link.
19 March 2008
Inquiry into The Current State of Australia's Space Science & Industry
19 September 2007
FedSat falls silent - mission ends for Australia’s science satellite
Launched in December 2002 as Australia’s
first 21st century satellite, FedSat has finally ceased operations, a full
year later than expected and after completing 20,000 orbits of the earth
(about one billion kilometers).
18 October 2006
For the first time in ten years the US President has enunciated a new over-arching space policy for the US Government.
According to the new policy document, authorised by President Bush on 31st August 2006, the conduct of US space programs and activities will be a top priority, guided by principles that include a commitment to the exploration and use of outer space by all nations for peaceful purposes and the rejection of any claims to sovereignty over outer space.
However in a notable development in its international space policy, the US now explicitly asserts a right to preserve its rights, capability and freedom of action in space including taking those actions necessary to preserve its space capabilities and denying adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests.
To download a copy of the policy document, click
18 October 2006
An interesting paper was presented recently at the Space 2006 Conference on the results of a business case study of the emerging entrepreneurial space industry in the U.S.
One of the conclusions is that the commercial space industry in the US is slowly developing into a purely private and sustainable marketplace. Indications include the fact that private spending on space-related activities has now surpassed that of the government. However, the high cost and high risk, low operational flexibility of launching a payload to orbit remains one of the greatest barriers for an expanding commercial space market, particularly in view of the global oversupply of launch services.
Other observations in the paper include the following:
To download a copy of the paper, click
ASICC promoteS Australian participation in microsat missions
During a recent visit to Australia, the Canadian aerospace company ComDev presented a novel concept which might enable Australian organisations to collaborate with the Canadian Space Agency and ComDev on microsatellite missions.
ASICC provided ComDev’s representative, Mr. Richard Kolacz, with a number of industry contacts and co-hosted a presentation to the Sydney based space community at CSIRO Industrial Physics in Lindfield on 4 May 2006.
The Canadian Space Agency plans to launch a microsatellite every two years. ComDev will be the provider of the satellite bus and will arrange the launch and it has invited Australia to participate in defining the missions and developing the payloads. This type of collaboration has the potential to significantly lower the actual cost required for Australian participation to a few million dollars per program.
Commenting on the visit, ASICC’s
Deputy Chair, Bill Barrett said:
"The meeting also served an important secondary purpose in bringing together many space interested organisations and individuals based in Sydney who had not met each other before. This is one of the key goals of ASICC and from that perspective ASICC feels that this meeting was a great success” Mr Barrett added.
ASICC Chairman Welcomes National Space Policy Initiative
The Chairman of the Australian Space
Industry Chamber of Commerce, Kirby Ikin, today welcomed Senator Grant
Chapman's call for a whole of government national space
SPACE: A Priority for Australia
* To download an Executive Summary of ‘SPACE: A PRIORITY FOR AUSTRALIA’, click here
ESA and ANU Develop New Ion Engine
The European Space Agency and the Australian National University have successfully tested a new design of spacecraft ion engine that dramatically improves performance over present thrusters and marks a major step forward in space propulsion capability.
Ion engines are a form of electric propulsion and work by accelerating a beam of positively charged particles (or ions) away from the spacecraft using an electric field. ESA is currently using electric propulsion on its Moon mission, SMART-1. The new engine is over ten times more fuel efficient than the one used on SMART-1. "Using a similar amount of propellant as SMART-1, with the right power supply, a future spacecraft using our new engine design wouldn't just reach the Moon, it would be able to leave the Solar System entirely," says Dr Roger Walker of ESA's Advanced Concepts Team, Research Fellow in Advanced Propulsion and Technical Manager of the project.
The new experimental engine, called the Dual-Stage 4-Grid (DS4G) ion thruster, was designed and built under a contract with ESA in the extremely short time of four months by a dedicated team at the Australian National University. "The success of the DS4G prototype shows what can be achieved with the passion and drive of a capable and committed team. It was an incredible experience to work with ESA to transform such an elegant idea into a record-breaking reality", says Dr. Orson Sutherland, the engine's designer and head of the development team at the ANU. During November 2005, the DS4G engine was tested for the first time in ESA's Electric Propulsion Laboratory at ESTEC in the Netherlands, with support from Dr Sutherland and ESA test engineers.
Traditional ion engines use three closely separated perforated grids containing thousands of millimetre-sized holes attached to a chamber containing a reservoir of the charged particles. The first grid has thousands of volts applied, and the second grid operates at low voltage. The voltage difference over the gap between the two grids creates an electric field that acts to simultaneously extract and accelerate the ions out of the chamber and into space in a single step. The higher the voltage difference, the faster the ions are expelled and the greater the fuel efficiency of the thruster. However, at higher voltage differences approaching five thousand volts (5kV), some of the ions collide with the second grid as they are accelerated, thus eroding and damaging the grid and thereby limiting its lifetime in space.
The DS4G ion engine utilises a different concept first proposed in 2001 by David Fearn, a pioneer of ion propulsion in the UK, which solves this limitation by performing a two-stage process to decouple the extraction and acceleration of ions using four grids. In the first stage, the first two grids are closely spaced and both are operated at very high voltage and a low voltage difference between the two (3 kV) enables the ions to be safely extracted from the chamber without hitting the grids. Then, in the second stage, two more grids are positioned at a greater distance 'downstream' and operated at low voltages. The high voltage difference between the two pairs of grids powerfully accelerates the extracted ions.
The test model achieved voltage differences as high as 30kV and produced an ion exhaust plume that travelled at 210,000 m/s, over four times faster than state-of-the-art ion engine designs achieve. This makes it four times more fuel efficient, and also enables an engine design which is many times more compact than present thrusters, allowing the design to be scaled up in size to operate at high power and thrust. Due to the very high acceleration, the ion exhaust plume was very narrow, diverging by only 3 degrees, which is five times narrower than present systems. This reduces the fuel needed to correct the orientation of spacecraft from small uncertainties in the thrust direction.
There is of course still a great deal of work to be done before the new engine design can fly in space. "Working with our industrial partners, the next challenge is to transition this promising new engine design from laboratory experiment to spacecraft flight model and properly define the new missions that it will enable", says José Gonzalez del Amo, Head of Electric Propulsion at ESA. The flight-suitable engines must then be tested: and for ion engines this is a long process.
Since they must operate continuously in space for tens of thousands of hours providing a small thrust, ground tests in a vacuum facility must last several thousand hours to prove their reliability. Only after all this could the first flight models be launched.
Once ready, these engines will be able to propel spacecraft to the outermost planets, the newly discovered planetoids beyond Pluto and even further, into the unknown realm of interstellar space beyond the Solar System. Closer to home, these supercharged ion engines could figure prominently in the human exploration of space. With an adequate supply of electrical power, a small cluster of larger, high power versions of the new engine design would provide enough thrust to propel a crewed spacecraft to Mars and back.
"This is an ultra-ion engine. It has exceeded the current crop by many times and opens up a whole new frontier of exploration possibilities," says Dr Walker.
SPACE TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LIFE ON AND UNDER THE GROUND
NASA's New Procurement Policy - Space Opportunities for Australia
NASA is actively seeking
international collaboration as part of the new NASA initiative to return to
the Moon and Mars. This is highlighted by a directive from NASA to purchase
the best goods and services for each mission regardless of where they are
located in the world. This is a dramatic shift away from NASA's previous
"buy American only" policy and opens the door to NASA for Australian
NASA has a specific list of
capabilities that are considered essential to these new missions. NASA would
like countries to comment on their current capabilities in the following
fields and their ability to be utilised in support of the planned missions.
Note that capability in many of these areas need not necessarily be space
qualified at the moment, i.e. a strong background in robotics would be of
interest even if there has been no focus on work in space.