Australia’s new Space Industry Roadmap reveals space exploration plans

Image courtesy of CSIRO.

On 24 September, Australia’s national science agency CSIRO published its latest space industry roadmap, which aims to grow the nation’s domestic space industry to AU$12 billion (US$8.7 billion) by 2030. The roadmap includes a comprehensive plan to grow the space exploration and utilization industry, with a view to expand into deep space from the Moon.

Four different industry opportunities were identified:

  • Autonomous robotic systems, including autonomous landers, AR/VR technologies and humanoid robots in the short term, and teleoperation for lunar missions and robots for resource extraction in the long term.
  • In-situ resource utilization, including re-engineering mineral processing for lunar conditions in the short term, and, in the long term, in-space manufacturing, in-situ fuel production, and a closed-loop carbon cycle.
  • Habitat and life support, including inflatable space habitats and wearable technology for space travellers in the short term, and bioremediation of Mars and in-situ food production in the long term.
  • Power and propulsion, including reusable rockets and technologies to convert waste into power in the short term, and small-scale fission reactors and autonomous modular power systems in the long term.

“Our space roadmap charts a course for economic growth using space, and champions a new era of space exploration to inspire our children with the power of science to make the ‘impossible’ possible,” CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said.

Other than space exploration, the roadmap highlighted two other sectors: : (a) space-derived services, including Earth Observation and communiation, and (b) space object tracking, such as debris. These two sectors were also presented in July this year by Head of the new Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark, when discussion the agency’s strategic priorities.

The CSIRO roadmap has been endorsed by the Australian Space Agency.

Dr. Clark said, “This Roadmap introduces some key scientific opportunities which Australia can utilise to drive engagement and growth across the space value chain.”

“Together, the Australian Space Agency, CSIRO and other key partners will drive the full potential of our nation’s capabilities and competitive advantages, optimising our R & D opportunities and targeting growth across the space value chain to build a space sector of which all Australians can be proud,” she concluded.

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