Mission control, space discovery centres announced for Adelaide

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By Melissa Keogh

The space industry is set to further take off in South Australia’s capital when a Mission Control Centre and Space Discovery Centre are established alongside the new Australian Space Agency.

The Mission Control Centre will provide a focal point for orbiting spacecraft and will be established alongside the national space agency within innovation precinct and former Royal Adelaide Hospital site, Lot Fourteen.

The Federal Government today announced a total $12 million investment into the nation’s space industry, including $6 million for the Mission Control Centre, and $6 million towards establishing a Space Discovery Centre, also at Lot Fourteen.

The funding will form part of the yet-to-be finalised Adelaide City Deal which is designed to boost the city’s population and drive economic growth.

Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews says the Mission Control Centre will complement the work of the Australian Space Agency.

“The Mission Control Centre will be a focal point for space missions in Australia, providing facilities to control small satellite missions, enabling real-time control and testing and accelerated development of Australian satellite technology,” she says.

“It will be available for use by space start-ups and small-to-medium enterprise space businesses, as well as research and educational institutions from across Australia.

“These investments will help the Australian Space Agency foster the growth of a globally competitive space industry, worth about US$345 billion.”

An artist’s impression of Lot Fourteen once fully redeveloped. Photo: Renewal SA.

The Space Discovery Centre will provide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, engagement and inspiration for young Australians, and activities such as mission simulation and training for university students.

SA Premier Steven Marshall told ABC Radio Adelaide on March 18 that youth in the state were already excited about the career and education prospects the Australian Space Agency will create.

“When I’m out speaking to people, especially young people, they’re pretty excited about this opportunity to have this facility here in SA,” he says.

“You speak to university students … they’re all talking about the space agency … when you have a focus on space it actually lifts people’s aspirations around studying STEM subjects at school, which has a flow-on effect for plenty of other industries around our state.”

Both the Mission Control Centre and Space Discovery Centre will complement the work of the Australian Space Agency, which is set to be up and running by mid-2019.

The national agency was established in July 2018 with a Federal Government investment of $41 million over four years. The government plans to triple the size of Australia’s space industry to $12 billion and create up to 20,000 new jobs by 2030.

In December 2018, it was announced that Adelaide had won the bid to host the agency, expected to allow Australia greater access to the US$345 billion global space sector.

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