Australia’s first Satellite Manufacturing Hub for larger Earth Observation satellites up to 500 kg in weight will be established at the South Jerrabomberra Regional Jobs Precinct in NSW and at the UTS Tech Lab, adjacent to the Sydney Innovation and Technology Precinct in Botany, NSW through a $71 million investment and collaboration between Electro Optic Systems (EOS), Nova Systems, UTS Tech Lab, Gilmour Space, and the federal and NSW governments.
The Australian government’s $1.16 billion 2022 Federal Budget commitment to grow Australia’s sovereign space industry through a National Space Mission for Earth Observation is a clear indication of the Commonwealth’s dedication to developing Australia’s space industry. To realise a mission of this scale and complexity, specialised manufacturing facilities for Earth Observation satellites are required. The Australian Satellite Manufacturing Hub (ASMH) provides this capability and is a key enabler for these types of missions.
The ASMH will provide secure facilities to enable research and development collaborations between industry, leading Australian universities and CSIRO as well as the design, prototyping, manufacturing, integration, and testing of large satellites and payloads.
Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said, “Funding for the Australian Satellite Manufacturing Hub will further help lift our credentials as a leading space nation. This Hub will help grow capability in our space sector, support the development of new high-skilled jobs and enable the space supply chain a place where collaboration to build large satellites is right here at home.”
NSW Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Stuart Ayres said, “This project will enhance our manufacturing capabilities, drive commercialisation of space R&D and act as a catalyst for investment in priority space and defence sectors.”
“This new collaborative manufacturing capability fills recognised gaps in Australia’s current space manufacturing landscape by enabling the local development of large, high-quality, reliable spacecraft and optical payloads that are capable of fulfilling complex missions which deliver national economic benefit,” said Glen Tindall, CEO, EOS Space Systems.
It is estimated that the project will directly generate 125 full-time, high-skilled jobs in NSW – around half of these located in regional NSW – as well as have a multiplier effect that results in the creation of 375 additional jobs throughout the supply chain and broader economy.
“The Australian Satellite Manufacturing Hub will drive a nationwide approach to developing Australia’s space qualified ecosystem and will see the assembly and integration of larger satellites, space vehicles and components,” said Nova Systems Chief Executive Officer Jim McDowell.
Andrew Parfitt, Vice Chancellor, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), said, “UTS is proud to support the ASMH, which will establish a presence at UTS’ Tech Lab facility in Botany. UTS is committed to growing opportunities in the space sector for Australia, NSW and the many partners across industry and research. UTS Tech Lab will play a vital role in the research and development of cutting-edge satellite technologies as well as in the fostering of deep university–industry collaboration.”
The project’s satellite manufacturing hubs address key opportunity areas identified in the Space National Manufacturing Priority road map, such as nano and small satellite development, propellants and fuels, payloads, sensors, solar panels, structural components, optics, new space related technologies and materials, optical wireless communication technologies and key ground segment subsystems. They also address key components of the Earth Observation from Space Roadmap by building a domestic satellite manufacturing capability for Earth Observation and developing a skilled workforce to support not only the space sector but also the broader Australian economy.
The establishment of the satellite manufacturing hubs will involve the development and improvement of processes and practices, underpinned by the adoption of cutting-edge technology. It will also support the growth and scale of the Australian space sector, as well as its long-term competitiveness, and create jobs.