Australian Space Agency seals deal with Airbus to foster innovation and skills

08 Oct 2018

The Australian Space Agency (ASA) and Airbus have signed a statement of intent that will see the European aerospace corporation provide support for space discovery, technology development and connectivity, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in Australia.

‘Airbus aims to support projects and partnerships that contribute to growth and jobs in Australia, with a special focus on innovation and skills,’ says Pierre Jaffre, President Asia-Pacific, Airbus, in a company media release.

‘We look forward to working with the Australian Space Agency, as well as the country’s academia, SMEs and startups, to develop Australia’s space sovereign capability.’

The statement of intent is the first to be signed by the ASA with an industry partner.

Airbus and the ASA will work together on commercialisation at every point along the space value-added chain, from research and development to high-tech manufacturing, transportation, satellite operations and consumer services based on satellite signals and data.

‘The Australian Space Agency is committed to a transparent and significant engagement with industry,’ says Dr Megan Clark AC, Head of the ASA. ‘Our purpose is to transform and grow the Australian space sector, and the broader use of space across the country’s economy, to inspire and deliver benefit to all Australians.

‘We welcome Airbus’ choice of Australia for the world’s first operations of the Zephyr and Skynet 5 platforms. We also welcome Airbus’ efforts to actively support STEM education and training opportunities in Australia and internationally.’

Airbus Defence and Space has established a major presence in Australia. In 2011, the Royal Australian Air Force became the launch operator of the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Airbus has also been supplying earth observation satellite imagery to the Australian market for over 25 years.

In 2016, a purpose-built satellite ground station was created in Adelaide to land Airbus Defence and Space’s Skynet secure military satellite communications.

In June 2018, Airbus selected Wyndham airfield in Western Australia as the first flight base for its pioneering Zephyr solar-powered unmanned aircraft. It also signed partnerships with the University of South Australia and Nova Systems, and the University of New South Wales and Skykraft.

The ASA, launched in early 2018, is responsible for supporting the long-term development and application of space technologies in Australia and internationally.

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. Airbus designs and manufactures a range of passenger airliners, helicopters, tankers, combat, transport and mission aircraft, and is one of the world’s leading space companies.