Already home to more than 80 space-related organisations, South Australia is committed to further growing the local industry and building on the state’s strong history of space activity.

In September 2017 the South Australian Government created the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) to drive space industry innovation, research and entrepreneurial development.

SASIC provides a whole-of-state-government focal point for both local industry and international companies and organisations. With a team of staff from Defence SA, Department for Trade and Investment, and Department for Innovation and Skills, SASIC coordinates and implements industry and workforce development through initiatives, events, scholarships and an incubator program.

The space industry challenges the innovative skills of our best researchers and engineers and it inspires young people to develop the skills to push forward the frontiers of scientific knowledge.

The growth of space and sustainable defence industries in South Australia plays a key role in the State’s economic development. Capabilities and expertise are concentrated on: earth observation, satellite communications and space-based position, navigation and timing. These space enabling services support activities across a variety of sectors including communication, environmental monitoring and mapping.

The space industry contributes to the development of other priority sectors for South Australia including defence, agriculture, mining and tourism, as well as services for the community such as health and education.

Timeline of Space in South Australia

1947

In 1947 the Woomera Rocket Range was established in South Australia on the Arcoona plateau as part of an agreement between the British and Australian governments under the Anglo-Australian joint project. The Range was established to develop long-range missiles in response to the threat of attacks on London in WWII and the developing cold war in Europe. Over 4000 short-range missiles were tested between 1947 and 1980.

1957

South Australia hosted significant research into space through the launching and monitoring of over 250 Skylark sounding rockets over 20 years. The experience enabled Australian research teams to develop the Australian-designed Long Tom sounding rocket which was used to develop instrumentation at Woomera and to study the upper atmosphere.

1967

In November 1967 the Australian-built Weapons Research Establishment Satellite (WRESAT 1) was successfully launched into orbit from Woomera on board a modified US Redstone rocket (the same type used to launch the first US astronauts into space). This made Australia the third country, after the US and the USSR, to launch a satellite to orbit from its own territory.

1960s
1995

Several international space programs continued in South Australia throughout the 1990s. 1995 saw the start of the Express mission, a collaborative program between Germany and Japan to land an unmanned re-entry capsule at Woomera. The spacecraft was launched from Kagoshima Space Centre in Japan on 15 January 1995. Although the landing did not eventually happen at Woomera due to technical problems, Australian support during this mission pioneered the approach for future spacecraft programs at Woomera.

1990s
1996

In May 1996, South Australian-born astronaut Dr Andy Thomas conducted his first trip into space on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. He logged a total of 178 days in space during his career.

2002 – 2004

Between 2002-2004 the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) conducted the National Experimental Supersonic Transport (NEXST) flight trials at Woomera. JAXA undertook significant upgrades at Woomera with extensive support from the Royal Australian Air Force and Adelaide aerospace companies. Further upgrades to Woomera were confirmed in 2016 over 10 years which will transform the Woomera Range Complex into the most sophisticated land-based test range in the world.

2000s
2011

In 2011 the University of South Australia commenced the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program in collaboration with the International Space University (ISU). The program is a unique, five week live-in experience focusing on an international, intercultural and interdisciplinary educational philosophy for which the ISU is renowned.

2017

In April 2017, Adelaide University and the University of South Australia teamed up to develop one of 50 CubeSats as part of the global QB50 initiative, one of four Australian satellites to be built in over 15 years. Australia’s future in space looks promising and is set to reach new heights.

September 2017

In late September 2017, the Australian Government confirmed that it would create a new national space agency after repeated calls from the South Australian space sector. The formation of the agency promised to create an opportunity for Australia to increase its share of the then $420 billion global space industry. Detailed plans for Australia’s future in space were outlined at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide in the same month.

December 2018

In December 2018, it was announced that Adelaide, South Australia would be home to the newly established Australian Space Agency, with the national headquarters to be located at Lot Fourteen. The decision reinforced state’s long-standing contribution to Australia’s space journey. The announcement was made in conjunction with the Adelaide City Deal, which saw the Federal and State government sign a Memorandum of Understanding committing to growing Adelaide’s economy.

April 2019

In April 2019, it was announced that South Australia would host the SmartSat Collaborative Research Centre (CRC), a $245 million research effort focused on growing the nation’s space capability. The CRC, which us a consortium of over 85 industry, government and research