CSIRO is spending $16m to get Aust’s space industry to infinity and beyond
The ASX has just three space stocks, but that could all start to change as the country’s science agency CSIRO throws an extra $16 million into space.
It’ll be welcome news to space and defence company Electro Optic Systems (ASX:EOS), Sky and Space Global (ASX:SAS), makers of nanosatellites for telecommunications, and space surveillance company Kleos Space (ASX:KSS), which listed in August.
They hope to grow Australia’s piece of the space economy pie, according to EOS chief Craig Smith
Things aren’t quite as exciting here in Australia — compared to NASA’s brand new “returning to the Moon – to stay” vision.
But there is definitely movement at the station in just the five months since the formation of the Australian Space Agency.
Just a week ago, South Australian startup Fleet Space Technologies sent Australia’s first commercial CubeSats into orbit aboard a rocket launched from New Zealand.
Fleet CEO Flavia Tata Nardini made a point of crediting the ASA for helping it push through the paperwork to enable a build-and-launch project to be completed within two months.
And in September, the CSIRO launched its space roadmap which outlined ways it believed the ASA was capable of tapping into a US$345 billion global space market.
Note to NASA above – that included building an Australian space base on the moon.
Today, the CSIRO announced it’s tipping another $16 million into the space race. It’s opened up a new area on its Future Science Platforms program – Space Technology.
“Space Technology will receive $16M to identify and develop the science to leapfrog traditional technologies and find new areas for Australian industry to work in,” the CSIRO said.
“It will initially focus on advanced technologies for Earth observation, and then address challenges such as space object tracking, resource utilisation in space, and developing manufacturing and life support systems for missions to the Moon and Mars.”
The funding is to help the ASA reach its goal of tripling the size of the domestic space sector to $10-12 billion by 2030.
The CSIRO also added Artificial Intelligence to the program for the first time, earmarking $19 million “to target AI-driven solutions for areas including food security and quality, health and wellbeing, sustainable energy and resources, resilient and valuable environments, and Australian and regional security”.
All up, there are now 10 areas of future science in the FSP program, which was launched in 2016 aiming to use “deep technology expertise” to help develop Australia’s major industries.
By 2022, the CSIRO will have invested $205 million in the FSP.