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Southern Space Newsletter – 14 October

Oct 14, 2022


Southern Space is a weekly newsletter produced by SIAA to inform the Australian space industry

Industry News

Rocket Lab Conducts Successful 31st Launch: Last week SIAA member Rocket Lab launched the GAzelle spacecraft provided by the French space agency aboard an Electron rocket. The spacecraft hosts the Argos-4 instrument as part of the Argos program to collect and relay global sensor data primarily used to track wildlife. Argos instruments are used for wildlife tracking due to the global coverage that can be provided with low power requirements. Head of the Argos program Sophie Coutin-Faye noted that Argos is the only satellite system that can track “briefly surfacing marine animals … and even non-air breathing animals such as billfish, sharks and rays”. The Argos program also includes NOAA and NASA.

Using Mixed Reality and Space Technologies to Deliver Better Healthcare: The use of space technology to enhance fast and reliable cloud connectivity across regional and remote Australia is assisting regional Australian communities in providing healthcare to isolated residents. Healthcare practitioners in Dargo, Victoria, participated in an eight-week trial of using virtual reality headsets for virtual appointments to increase their ability to engage with patients. Both practitioners and patients reported an improved experience, prompting plans to expand the virtual medical technology to other regions. This pilot and use of virtual appointments and VR headsets was made possible with technology from SIAA Foundation member Microsoft Azure Space.

Spire Global Signs Multiple Launch Agreement with Virgin Orbit: SIAA member Spire Global has committed to purchase multiple launches from Virgin Orbit, with launches commencing next year. The two companies previously partnered to launched Spire’s ADLER-1 satellite aboard a Virgin Orbit Launcher One from California in January this year, with the mission taking 22 days from the initial call-up to payload integration.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Awards Contract to SpaceLink: NASA has awarded SpaceLink a contract to study how commercial optical ground terminals with integrate into the Near Space Network. The US subsidiary of SIAA Foundation member Electro Optic Systems will also undertake a funded demonstration of end-to-end transport of multi-source data at the SpaceLink gateway in the Mojave Desert.

First Amazon Project Kuiper Satellites will Launch Early Next Year: Amazon has announced that the company’s first two Project Kuiper satellites will launch on United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket in the first quarter of 2023. Vice president of technology at Project Kuiper, Rajeev Badyal noted that the launch of these two satellites “will give us practical experience working together” ahead of planned future Project Kuiper launches.

NASA DART Mission Successfully Altered Asteroid’s Orbit: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has announced this week that last month’s DART mission successful altered the asteroid’s orbital period. The DART spacecraft exceeded expectations for the test demonstration and changed the impacted asteroid’s orbital period by more than half an hour.

Gilmour Space Technologies in The Australian: In this article, The Australian profile the company and CEO Adam Gilmour. “He states that, “I love the John F Kennedy quote that ‘we go to the moon not because it’s easy but because it’s hard.’” The article goes on to outline that Gilmour Space 170 highly skilled employees.”

CAPSTONE Mission: Following a loss of attitude control over the NASA CAPSTONE mission, the CAPSTONE team has reported that engineers have restored normal attitude control over the cubesat. The mission remains on track to enter its planned, near-rectilinear halo orbit on 13 November.

Japan Rocket Failed Launch Attempt: After the Epsilon-6 rocket deviated from its intended trajectory shortly after launch, JAXA officials ordered the rocket to self-destruct. The rocket was carrying 8 satellites, including two commercial satellites developed by a Japanese venture company. This is first time since 2003 that JAXA has had to order a rocket to self-destruct.

Mexico Space Cooperation Agreement with Russia Under Scrutiny: The Mexican President has denied that a space cooperation agreement between Mexico and Russia would allow Russian surveillance of North America, emphasising that the agreement is focussed on the “exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes”.

China Conducts Offshore Rocket Launch: Last week, China successfully launched two test satellites from its launch platform in the Yellow Sea. The two LEO test satellites will monitor the performance of the global navigation satellite system and conduct both navigation augmentation in intersatellite laser communication tests. Earlier this week China launched a radar satellite for environmental monitoring, marking the country’s 18th launch since early August.

Artemis 1: NASA has set a new launch date for the Artemis 1 mission on 14 November, with back up launch dates set for 16 November and 19 November.

Industry Opportunities

Venture Catalyst Space Applications Open  

Delivered by the University of South Australia’s Innovation and Collaboration Centre with the support of the South Australian government, the Venture Catalyst Space program connects founders with industry experts from around the world including experts from NASA, the Australian Space Agency, Defence SA, Airbus and SmartSat CRC.

Applications to join the 2023 cohort close 16 November.

Apply to Venture Catalyst Space here

Queensland Defence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund 

Round 3 of the Defence and Aerospace Industry fund is now open, with grants from $3000 to $30,000 in matched funding to support international and industry certification. Grants are open to small-to-medium in Queensland that supply or have the potential to supply to the defence, aerospace and space sectors.

Applications close 5pm Friday 9th December

Apply here

Upcoming Events

French-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Networking Session 

When: Monday 24 October 4:30pm – 6:30pm

Where: Playford Hotel

The French-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry SA Chapter, in partnership with Business France and the French Embassy in Australia, is pleased to invite you to an exclusive Networking Session on Monday 24 October from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at the Playford Hotel. Take the opportunity to meet with the Official French Trade Delegation in exclusivity before the start of the Space Forum in Adelaide on the 25th of October 2022. You will have the pleasure to hear a Keynote Address from Vivian Quenet, Managing Director of Arianespace Asia Pacific.

The French delegation will then keep up with three intensive days of networking & B2B matching events, and site visits in SA, NSW and ACT. These Networking Evenings are a fantastic way to meet, socialise and grow your business network with members and friends of FACCI in a relaxed and pleasant setting.

Thank you to AFRAN for providing the food and drinks and to the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) for supporting us!

Register to attend the networking session here.

14th Australian Space Forum – The Andy Thomas Space Foundation 

When: Tuesday 25 October

Where: Adelaide Convention Centre

The Andy Thomas Space Foundation is hosting its 14th Australian Space Forum in South Australia. Supported by the Australian Space Agency, the South Australian Space Industry Centre and SmartSat CRC, the Forum offers an opportunity to learn about emerging ideas and network with individuals in the space sector. Session topics include Earth Observation, optical communications and foundation services rover. Register for the Space Forum here.

Post Andy Thomas Space Forum Drinks 

When: Tuesday 25 October

Where: Strathmore

SIAA has partnered with the Adelaide University Space Society and SpaceBD to host an industry drinks night following the Andy Thomas Space Forum. We hope to see you there!



Southern Space 

When: 22 November – 23 November

Where: Hotel Realm, Canberra

SIAA’s two-day conference, Southern Space brings together space industry experts and decision-makers from across Australia. This year’s conference will connect the space industry together with government and parliament for two days to help shape the future agenda of Australian space’s aspirations.

Registrations are available to both members and non-members of SIAA, with fees applicable to non-members.

Registrations are open – Register Here.

SIAA Member Profile: Nova Systems

Nova Systems is an Australian owned and operated engineering services and technology solutions company. The company delivers specialist systems engineering advisory and management services alongside advanced digital technology, software and systems integration solutions. Founded in 2000 by two Air Force veterans, the company now has more than 1000 team members and subcontractors, with offices in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore and Norway.

Across a range of government and industry clients, Nova Systems supports the delivery of complex space and satellite communication programs, provides support services, and delivers both ground and space-based elements of space capability.  The company’s engineering and advisory services include mission analysis, space domain awareness, launch safety and regulatory support, and training.

The Nova Systems Space Precinct, located in South Australia, delivers ground segment services to satellite owners and operators, with the company planning to develop a series of satellite ground segment facilities around Australia. The precinct is designed to meet the needs of small satellite missions launched in LEO, MEO and GEO orbits.

Earlier this year, Nova Systems supported the Australian Space Agency as technical advisor during the launch of NASA rockets for the first time from an Australian commercial site at Arnhem Space Centre. Last month the company announced an initial investment of $2 million towards establishing Australian-first Test and Evaluation Centre of Excellence, aimed at supporting the nation’s sovereign defence capability.

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Header Image Credit: Photo courtesy of Martin Ollman. Contact SIAA at for more information

The Space Industry of Australia (SIAA)

The Space Industry of Australia is the national peak body for the space industry in Australia,
representing more than 600 members. Formed in 1992, SIAA hosted the 2017 International Astronautical
Congress in Adelaide which led to the establishment of the Australian Space Agency in 2018. SIAA and
its member companies work closely with Australian governments, international partners, academia, and
industry to advance Australia’s space industry and economy.