Topics: Australian Space Agency Mission Control and Discovery Centre
Speakers: Minister Andrews, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clarke, Dr Matthew Tetlow from space company Inovor
Karen Andrews: Well let's get started. It's an absolute pleasure to be back at Lot Fourteen again this morning with the Premier and with my federal colleagues here. Today the Liberal National government has shown a very deep commitment to the space sector here in Australia. We have already committed $300 million to growing, developing the space sector here in Australia. That includes significant money that has been put towards our positioning system to bring it from an accuracy of between five and 10 metres firstly through to a 10 centimetre accuracy in
rural and regional parts of Australia and then in to about a three centimetre accuracy in the metropolitan areas. That is going to help significantly as we move towards autonomous vehicles because our accuracy will be leading the world.
We're also providing significant money to Earth observation. This will go to support our farmers because we are able to be tracking what is happening with our water flows and we'll be able to give the agriculture sector significant information that will help them plan not just now but decades into the future the correct utilization of land, for example. We have also committed $41 million to establish Australia's space agency. Late last year we announced that the Australian space agency would be headquartered right here at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide and that work is already underway to make sure that that transition happens smoothly and quickly.
Today I'm here to announce that there will be further funding from the Liberal National government to support the space industry here in Australia. Firstly there there's a $6 million funding announcement to establish mission control right here at Lot Fourteen, and I will certainly be asking the Premier to comment but I know that he is excited about the space industry and all that it can bring here to South Australia. So $6 million for mission control located here at Lot Fourteen. That will enable satellites to be tracked as they are overhead here. It will provide a lot of data that can be analysed. It can make sure that our small and medium enterprises, for the first time, have access to a mission control centre right here in Australia.
The Liberal National government is also committing a further $6 million dollars to set up a space discovery centre that also will be based here at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide. Now, the space discovery centre will provide an opportunity for the public to see what is happening in mission control. We will be working with Questacon to also set up other exhibits that are space-related here. It will be an opportunity to inspire young people in particular. We know that space is particularly inspirational to all Australians and our young people. It's most important that we inspire and encourage them to study the science and maths subjects at school.
So two great announcements here today. On top of the $300 million that we have already provided to support the growing space sector here in Australia, $12 million coming here to Adelaide for mission control and the space discovery centre. So I’ll ask the Premier to say a few words.
Steven Marshall: Well, thank you very much Minister, and can I just say a massive congratulations to you and the federal government for your commitment to establish an Australian Space Agency, and you've done that because you understand about the enormous opportunity for job creation, for getting young people into studying STEM subjects, to create investment attraction into Australia. This is just such a great commitment from the federal government. And today more great news for South Australia- I'm completely over the moon with the space discovery centre and mission control coming to Adelaide. This is great news for our state. It builds on the announcement made in December last year by our Prime Minister the Honourable Scott Morrison when he announced that South Australia would be the headquarters for the national space agency. What this will do is really further cement South Australia as a key player in the space agency- or space world, quite frankly. The space world. This will attract more investment into South Australia. It will inspire our children to seek jobs and opportunities in this very fast-growing sector of the global economy. It couldn't be better news. Thank you very much.
Karen Andrews: It's a pleasure. I think we have Megan Clarke?
Unidentified Speaker: Yes we do, just here.
Megan Clarke: Thank you very much, Premier. Thank you very much, Minister, for this wonderful
investment in South Australia. This will be the first national mission control for the Australian Space Agency. We’ll be able to connect and talk to Australian assets in space. We'll be able to let the public, through the discovery centre, see what we're doing, be engaged with how Australia is going in space, and be inspired by seeing Australia- what Australia can do in space. A wonderful day, we thank you very much for the investment and for the confidence in the Australian Space Agency. Thank you.
Question: Minister Andrews, if you don’t mind, was it a fait accompli that this mission control was always going to come to Adelaide, considering that this was going to be the home of the space agency?
Karen Andrews: There were some very lengthy discussions that were held between the Liberal
National Government federally and Premier and here in South Australia. Can I say that he has been very active in lobbying to make sure that as much as possible of the space sector is located here in South Australia? So all credit to him for doing that. It's logical given that the space agency is located in Adelaide that we would centre mission control here, but of course there needed to be an opportunity to do that as part of an innovation hub and that's what South Australia has to offer.
Question: Did it- oh sorry Minister, did it- has it put, and from memory and I’m going from memory, Premier Berejiklian’s nose was right out of joint that Sydney or New South Wales didn’t get the Agency in the first place. Are other states screaming that we need bit of this action as well?
Karen Andrews: Well I make my decisions for all of Australia so I have committed to continue to work with every state and territory government to make sure that they are able to have a slice of the space sector in Australia. We won’t be basing everything in South Australia, there were strong reasons for establishing the Space Agency here and for establishing mission control and the discovery centre. But I will continue to work with other states and territories about how we can grow the space sector right across Australia.
Question: Maybe for the Premier if you don’t mind. Just give us a sense Premier, how hard you had to fight to get mission control here and did you have to ward off threats from New South Wales, ACT and Victoria?
Steven Marshall: Look, on coming to government we formed the view that we should put in
the strongest bid possible. I've got to say we had support from right across the sector, the universities, the entire parliament all working together with a bid, which I think was the most competitive and the most compelling. We've also created a wonderful precinct to base the Space Agency and I think that's what our Space Agency in Australia is about. It's not about landing somebody on Mars; what it is about is using the wonderful opportunities in space to drive further productivity in Australia. We've got particular expertise in South Australia around Nanosat technology, smart-sat technology. I think this is a big part of what we have to offer to the Australian Space Agency. But as the minister said, every single state and territory has some contribution to make to the establishment of the Australian Space Agency. We are of course delighted that we will be hosting the headquarters here and now even more delighted that
mission control of the Space Discovery Centre will also be based here at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide.
Question: So Premier, how important is it in this whole process that the public is engaged in seeing and being able to see what goes on?
Steven Marshall: Well the Space Discovery Centre it will be an enormously useful resource to demonstrate to the people of our state, young people, older people exactly what the implications and the opportunities are for space here in South Australia and globally. We're really super excited about this. And can I say when I'm out talking to people, I'm stopped in the street, especially by young people, university students who find it inspiring that Australia's Space Agency is going to be based here in Adelaide. And I think it's something that every single South Australian can be very, very proud about.
Question: And is that 24 hours a day, the public can come in and see it? I guess, space doesn’t run between nine and five.
Steven Marshall: No basically, 9 and 5. No, no. [Laughs] No of course-
Question: [Indistinct] yourself.
Steven Marshall: That's right Mike. No look, the Space Discovery Centre will be a great resource. The final planning is being done on exactly where it's going to be located on Lot Fourteen, exactly what the offering is going to be and we're looking forward to sharing those detailed plans with people very, very soon.
Question: Could we also have a quick chat with Matthew. Do you want to just have a quick chat with us?
Karen Andrews: Put him on the spot [indistinct].
Question: From your company’s perspective, just how significant is today’s announcement
and what INOVOR does?
Matthew Tetlow: Well, it’s really important. I mean, we’re building satellites, we're building one for the CSIRO. And while the mission office hasn't really been sorted out yet, you know, now that there's a facility here I think it's very- makes a lot of sense to have it operated out of here. And this is not the only satellite, we expect to have many more and we want to operate as many as we can and I guess having it locally in South Australia is perfect for us. So I think it’s fantastic.
Question: I’ve got a question maybe for Dr Clark. How does it work at the moment in terms of [indistinct], do Fleet have their own mini mission control? Do other people have sort of smaller, their own ops now all being brought together?
Megan Clark: That’s a wonderful question. So if you’re a small company setting up and putting assets into space like Fleet, like Myriota and like Inovor, you would have to invest in your own connection with space as to how you control your satellites, how you receive information. By opening up a mission control that can be used by small and medium sized enterprises, it means that they can get there faster and they can use a shared facility. When they grow up to be a larger company they’ll probably want their own, but this allows them to get moving quickly. We have a lot of catch up to do in Australia, we need to catch up and get Australia positioned globally and so we want to make sure that small to medium sized enterprises can really make that jump. So just as Inovor, as Matthew was saying, this now allows Inovor to be able to use a tracking station and to be able to communicate with their assets in space and that’s what the mission control is all about.
Question: And will you be able to see it like everyone does picture the movies and I’ve just been to Houston, is that what we- looking at [indistinct] screens everywhere…
Megan Clark: [Talks over] Yeah absolutely. Well it’ll be a more modern version of Houston. So we also want the public to be able to see this. So we will use mission control as well for, as we plan joint missions with other agencies. And Australia is part of missions, we will also use mission control here to connect to and receive live feed from those missions. We want the public to be able to see actively what our scientists, what our teams are doing to be able to witness it first hand and see what jobs are like in the space industry and they’ll be able to do that as we connect mission controls through the Discovery Centre.
Question: The Premier says it's not to land a man on or a person on Mars; would you like to see that happen ultimately, one day in the future?
Megan Clark: We don't limit our vision in the Australian Space Agency and we are looking in the long term around how we participate in joint missions. We do need to work with other countries in partnership and we’re working on those partnerships right now. So hopefully we can bring you news as our partnerships progress, which missions we will be part of. So thank you very much.