Last updated March 23, 2019 at 1:34 pm
The Federal Government has announced the creation of a satellite mission control in Adelaide – the second located in South Australia.
A new satellite Mission Control Centre will be established in Adelaide, providing the opportunity for start-up companies and research organisations to develop their own satellite programmes.
The centre, for which no opening date was announced, will act as a control site for small satellite missions, providing a tracking and management facility for missions operated by Australian small to medium sized companies, and research and educational institutions.
The site will also allow companies to conduct mission rehearsal and training prior to launching payloads.
The creation of the centre is hoped to accelerate development of Australian satellite technology, according to the government.
“These investments will help the Australian Space Agency foster the growth of a globally competitive space industry, worth about US$345 billion,” Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews says about the centre.
During the early phase of the project, the Australian Space Agency will be involved in establishing the requirements and operating conditions for the facility, an Agency representative told Australia’s Science Channel. Once operational, the agency will maintain a close connection to provide national reach and focus.
The design phase of the project will begin in July with close consultation with industry.
Astronomer Professor Alan Duffy was buoyant about the opportunities provided by the new facility.
“As Australia develops its sovereign space-based assets such as new satellites or space-born sensors, it needs to increase the capabilities to track and monitor these assets.”
“If the Australian Space Agency’s plans to triple our share of the global space sector to $12 billion and employing up to 20,000 people by 2030 our skies, and indeed orbits, will be busier than ever making Mission Control a key role in the safe and efficient use of space,” he adds.
Mission Control Centre already operating in SA
The government-supported Mission Control Centre comes nearly a year after Australian start-up Fleet began operating a privately-owned ground station and mission control centre. That facility is also available for use by other space operators, as well as overseeing Fleet’s own satellite operations.
“We’re thrilled to be opening South Australia’s first ground station to service space start-ups and unleash endless possibilities to track nanosatellites in even the most remote areas of the world,” Fleet CEO Flavia Tata Nardini said at the time.
“The ground station will break barriers for space start-ups locally and abroad, creating opportunities that were previously only available to large organisations.”
Space Discovery Centre also announced
In addition to the funding provided for the new mission control facility, the Federal Government also announced funding for a Space Discovery Centre, also to be located at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide.
The centre will feature interactive information and activities to inspire old and young Australians about space. This could include as activities such as mission simulation, STEM education, and training for tertiary education.
Similar centres, which are extremely popular in cities such as Hong Kong and Houston, contain highly interactive exhibits and activities about the solar system, the creation of the universe, satellites, and human space flight, as well as astronomy sessions.
“The Space Discovery Centre will be critical to inspire and educate Australia’s future workforce to take up jobs that may not have been imagined yet!” says Duffy.
“The Australian Space Agency is excited for the development of the Mission Control Centre and Space Discovery Centre that will be constructed in Adelaide,” comments Dr Megan Clark, Head of the Australian Space Agency.
“The Mission Control facilities will have the capacity to track, communicate with and control satellites and other Australian assets in space. The facilities will be open to small and medium sized enterprises, and be connected to the Space Discovery Centre, where Australians will have the opportunity to see the Australian Space Agency and the industry at work.”