Australian Space Agency signs MoUs with counterparts in Canada, UK

President of the Canadian Space Agency, Sylvain Laporte, with Head of the Australian Space Agency, Megan Clark. Image courtesy of the Canadian Space Agency.

The Australian Space Agency has formally entered into Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with counterpart agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom, as part of the Australia’s plan to launch a “vibrant new space industry”, according to a press release from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

These MoUs will “help all three nations develop their respective space programs and take advantage of the rapidly-expanding global space industry,” said the press release.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, welcomed the MoUs, signed overnight by the Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC, President of the Canadian Space Agency, Mr Sylvain Laporte, and Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Space Agency, Dr Graham Turnock.

“Forging international partnerships is vital to building Australia’s space industry and ensuring our businesses can compete on the world stage,” Minister Andrews said.

“These agreements with counterpart space agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom will increase opportunities to work together and share information, technology and personnel between our nations.

“They represent a significant step in Australia’s journey with fellow spacefaring nations, and will help to grow the capability and competitiveness of our domestic space sector.”

Dr Clark said the signing of these new strategic agreements reflects the Australian Space Agency’s commitment to boosting international partnerships with government agencies.

“These signings provide a further positive contribution that cooperation in space science, research, technology, services, applications and international governance can bring.”

“Growing existing relationships with the United Kingdom on the likes of CSIRO’s NovaSar satellite project, Airbus’ Zephyr solar-powered unmanned aircraft and Canada’s cooperation in Earth Observation with Geoscience Australia provides more opportunity to jointly identify projects like these that can be supported and developed in both countries.”

The signing of the new MoUs took place at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) being held this week in Bremen, Germany. As part of the 2018–19 Budget, the Coalition Government is investing $41 million over four years to establish and operate Australia’s first-ever national space agency.

It is also investing more than $260 million to develop world-leading core satellite infrastructure and technologies, including better GPS for Australian business and regional Australians and improved access to satellite imagery.

The Space Agency’s focus will be on fostering international space partnerships and opening the door for local businesses to compete in the global space economy, helping to drive job growth.

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