Few things bring governments together like a good old fashioned space-rocket launch. In a new agreement, Italy and Australia have committed to pursue joint research and development, academic exchange and industry collaboration in the space sector.
The agreement was signed in Rome between the South Australian Government and the Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), and establishes a collaborative partnership to pursue space-related industries.
South Australia is home to the Woomera Test Range in the heart of the Outback and 60 space-related organisations. It has also recently launched a space innovation and growth strategy.
South Australian Minister for Defence Industries Martin Hamilton-Smith said South Australia led the way in the development of Australia’s space economy.
“Our vision is to position South Australia as a vibrant hub for future space activity and industry development,” he said.
South Australia’s place in the international space industry was cemented earlier this year after a successful test flight of an experimental rocket in the HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation) program.
“The success of this test launch takes us one step closer to the realisation of hypersonic flight,” Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said after the launch in May 2016.
Beside the historic test range in the desert at Woomera, South Australia is home to many other space industry programs and businesses.
Each year space experts from across the world meet at the University of South Australia’s Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program to discuss challenges and opportunities on offer in the space industry.
Speakers included Alex Grant, whose South Australian company Myriota is developing tiny devices to transmit data to and from remote locations, Flavia Tata Nardini, a former European Space Agency propulsion engineer, who founded Launchbox in 2014 to change the way people understood space science, and Brett Burford, the founder of AU Launch Services, an Adelaide-based consulting group that works with CubeSat manufacturers, owners and operators, and serves as a single point of contact for clients.
Nova Systems, a project management company with large defence contracts, is also in talks with Italian space companies.
Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, will also host more than 3000 delegates from around the world at the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in September 2017.
Academically, the University of Adelaide has launched an intensive post-graduate course titled Strategic Space Law to bring the legal profession up to speed with the new frontier.