The road map builds on the work already underway, particularly undertaken by the Australian Space Agency, and focuses on how government and industry can collaborate to use science and technology as enablers to drive the pace of manufacturing growth in areas of advantage. It will work in tandem with the Australian Civil Space Strategy.
The Space National Manufacturing Priority road map sets out a plan for both industry and government to strengthen Australia’s space manufacturing capability under the Modern Manufacturing Strategy.
It will work together with the Australian Civil Space Strategy to ensure scalable, competitive, and resilient space manufacturing.
The National Civil Space Priority Areas identified in the Australian Civil Space Strategy, while not constrained to manufacturing, represent some areas of opportunity for Australian manufacturers.
These areas are:
- Earth observation
- Position, navigation and timing
- Space situational awareness and debris monitoring
- Communications technologies and services
- Access to space
- Robotics and automation on Earth and in space
- Leapfrog R&D such as space medicine
There are also cross-cutting technology areas, including advanced manufacturing, which could provide similar opportunities.
This road map shares strong links with the Australian Space Agency’s programs, which support the growth of Australia’s space sector. These include:
- the International Space Investment Initiative
- the Space Infrastructure Fund
- the Moon to Mars Initiative.
This road map complements the Australian Government’s existing range of initiatives that grow business capability and capacity. Initiatives such as Entrepreneurs’ Programme and the Centre for Defence Industry Capability provide a range of services that are relevant to the space sector. These, and other services and grants, may be accessed through business.gov.au, and may support the growth and capability of Australia’s space manufacturers
The road map development process
On 1 October 2020, the Australian Government announced $1.5 billion to be invested over the next 4 years in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy (MMS) to help Australian manufacturers become more competitive, resilient and build scale in the global market.
The centrepiece of the MMS is the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative which will allow Government to invest in projects within 6 National Manufacturing Priority areas. The 6 National Manufacturing Priority areas are:
- Resources Technology & Critical Minerals Processing
- Food & Beverage
- Medical products
- Recycling & Clean Energy
Road maps have been developed with industry to set out plans for both industry and Government to strengthen Australia’s manufacturing capability. The road maps have been led by 6 industry taskforces to identify and set a future vision for the priority areas with clear goals, opportunities and actions over the next 2, 5 and 10 years.
Members of the industry taskforces were selected based on their expertise across the priority areas, and were supported by technical experts from the CSIRO, the Australian Space Agency, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (the department) and Industry Innovation and Science Australia.
Taskforce deliberations focused on current and future issues, challenges and opportunities to identify actions businesses and government can undertake to support scale, competitiveness and resilience in space manufacturing in the next 10 years.
Government has also been working with industry beyond the taskforce to understand the needs of the space manufacturing sector. A public consultation process was held between 23 October 2020 and 9 November 2020, which received 340 responses, including 34 focused on space manufacturing.
Input on the key strengths, opportunities and solutions to grow manufacturing have been used to inform the road map. The road map was also informed by bilateral meetings with key stakeholders as well as research conducted by the department.
Building on existing findings
Recognising the valuable work already completed in this area, development of the road map drew upon relevant strategies including but not limited to:
- AMGC’s Sector Competitiveness Plan 2020 identifies and analyses opportunities for manufacturers to lift their competitiveness, and proposes actions for companies, governments and research organisations to realise these opportunities. The 3 distinct strategies identified for competitiveness and resilience in advanced manufacturing are product cost reduction, value differentiation, and shifting market focus.
- Australian Civil Space Strategy outlines a vision for Australia to have ‘a globally responsible and respected space sector that lifts the broader economy, and inspires and improves the lives of Australians’. The strategy aims to triple the size of the sector by 2030, with activities guided by 4 Strategic Space Pillars: International; National; Responsible; and Inspire.
- CSIRO Futures’ Space Roadmap identified manufacturing opportunities from upstream to downstream, for example: provision of space tech systems, ground systems, equipment and services related to the launch of space systems, and space‑enabled services and applications.
Linkages across the Australian Government
Developing the road map drew upon and made reference to relevant strategies and initiatives, including but not limited to:
Australian Government policies and strategies
Other industry policies, strategies and initiatives
- House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources
- SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)
- CSIRO Futures’ 2030 Space Roadmap
Existing Australian Government support programs
- Space Infrastructure Fund
- International Space Investment initiative grants
- Defence Science & Technology Group
- Digital Transformation Agenda
- Industry Capability Network
- Business Cooperative Research Centres Program
- Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre
- Industry Growth Centres
- Entrepreneurs’ Programme
- Space Environment Research Centre (Space Environment Management CRC)
Barriers to scale
This road map seeks to support the space national manufacturing priority area to achieve its full potential by overcoming barriers to scale. Currently, it is a developing sector with an inconsistent pipeline of projects. Without customers and project parameters, its future needs and capabilities are difficult to determine. Government investment will be key to achieving growth. The global space industry relies directly and indirectly on sustained public investments, traditionally via government procurement and grant mechanisms. However, the taskforce recognises the continued competitiveness of the space industry is tied to its ability to foresee and cater to the demands of both government and commercial requirements.
Australia’s space sector must also address the challenges of a fiercely competitive and rapidly growing space sector while building scale and addressing market barriers. Addressing issues outlined in this road map will help to ensure space manufacturers can participate in and gain access to global markets and supply chains and grow a specialised and globally known industry.
As an emerging industry, obtaining funding and finance for new space manufacturing projects, particularly for new business can be difficult to secure. As is accessing export markets and supply chains that are highly specialised and mature.
To address this and to support space manufacturing businesses achieve the road map vision the government will support strategic projects focused on:
- building economies of scale and allow them to better compete in international markets
- translating ideas and research into commercial products, services and solutions in the space industry
- better integrating local firms and business into high value and international supply chains and markets within the space sector.
By partnering with business and industry, and focusing on developing the manufacturing capabilities of the future, we can support businesses to build their manufacturing expertise and capacity, embrace new technologies and innovation, lift productivity, create jobs and become world leaders in specialist space products.
The issues explored in this road map are designed to shape the thinking and actions of both industry and the Australian Government, and identify where our combined investments can take advantage of the opportunities outlined. More work will be needed to shift from the current state to the desired vision and to develop solution pathways to drive this transformation. This road map, together with the Australian Civil Space Strategy, provide platforms to build on.
Collaboration drives new ideas, innovation and productivity. Implementation of actions in this road map will foster greater collaboration between government, businesses, venture capitalists, industry experts and researchers. By working together, we will realise the benefits of innovation, harness our world‑class research capabilities, gain greater access to exports markets and translate our great ideas into commercial outcomes.
To help address these challenges, the Agency has a vital role to help open the door internationally for our research and industry sectors, and set a relevant legal and regulatory framework that meets our international obligations while fostering industry growth.