National Civil Space Priority Areas

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Activities under the Strategic Space Pillars will be guided by National Civil Space Priority Areas.

Position, navigation and timing

Position, navigation and timing (PNT) is critical for many areas of the Australian economy, including agriculture and mining. While Australia does not have its own global navigation satellite system, Australia’s PNT infrastructure needs to be world-class to underpin the growth of the broader economy.

Earth observation

Earth observation (EO) has untapped potential to grow Australia’s economy, for example, by improving agricultural monitoring, water management, and monitoring shipping routes. Through Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Australia (DEA) initiative, Australia is world-leading in this field. Australia will continue to focus on and develop this priority area to grow Australia’s broader economy.

Communications technologies and services

Space is crucial for communications on land, our marine jurisdiction, and airspace. Australia can play a lead role in emerging technologies such as lasers for data communication, quantum technologies for secure communication, and hybrid radio and optical communications.

Space situational awareness and debris monitoring

Collisions in space with debris pose a risk to assets and life. Australia’s geographical position makes it an ideal location for space debris tracking and space traffic management activities.

Leapfrog R&D

Australia has a strong research base in space-related R&D, contributing 6.8 per cent of the world’s publications in this sector between 2012 and 2016. To transform our space sector and leapfrog into new areas consistent with our broader economic and security interests, Australia can encourage and support research that inspires, identify areas to develop, and commercialise R&D that would grow and transform our space sector. Areas of opportunity include new rocket technology, new high-tech materials, space medicine, synthetic biology, quantum communications, in-orbit servicing, and optical wireless communication technologies.

Robotics and automation on Earth and in space

Australia is a world leader in remote asset management in industries including mining, oil and gas, transport, agriculture, and fisheries. Australia can leverage its expertise in robotics technology and systems for remote operation and exploration in space. Such systems are becoming more accessible with the lowering cost to access space.

Access to space

There are emerging opportunities for Australia to leverage international space missions and commercial launch activities from Australian territory to support industry growth. Protecting national safety and meeting our international and national obligations will be critical before domestic launch can occur.