投资空间科学R&D is essential to protect Australia’s national interests

2022年1月20日

 

Experts say Australia’s complete reliance on data from foreign-owned 卫星 – used every day by all Australians – in weather forecasting, 资源和水管理, and disaster response applications poses a significant sovereign risk.

All satellite data used in Australia comes from foreign sources. 日益增长的环境, 商业, and geopolitical stresses means there is no guarantee these data will always be readily available, 最优, or meet specific and evolving needs for Australia’s essential industries, 国防, 政府, 和日常生活.

Earth observation (EO) data and the services derived from it are also essential for activities such as measuring and mitigating climate change and maintaining and improving food and energy production and distribution, 绘制土地使用图, all of which contribute to sustainable economic growth and particular capability requirements for 国防.

Experts say the risk can be mitigated by a stronger investment in a home-grown Earth observation satellite program, 这将设计, 构建, launch and operate the 卫星 and the sensors on-board used to collect a wide range of data types. 建议包括在 a new national 10-year plan for Australian space science launched by the Australian Academy of Science.

Emeritus Professor Fred Menk, Chair of the Academy’s National Committee for Space and Radio Science. 提供的照片:

Emeritus Professor Fred Menk is Chair of the Executive Working Group that developed the plan.

“Meeting Australia’s future earth observation needs requires appropriate sovereign capability including enhanced science, 观察, 分析和建模能力,门克教授说, 谁也是学院的主席 National Committee for Space and Radio Science.

Understanding how Australian environments are changing, and how changes to the space environment impact natural and human systems are critical information sources for all aspects of industries, 政府 and 国防’s day to day and long-term operations.

来增强澳大利亚的能力, the 10-year plan is also calling for a national program of space weather research to help protect Australia’s critical energy, 水, 资讯及运输基建, advance space weather forecasting and improve our situational awareness of space.

The plan states that based on our current capability we would only receive about one hours’ warning of a major space weather event that could impact our national power distribution grids, 扰乱全球航空业, 卫星, 和无线电通信.

“A major space weather event with catastrophic impacts on the global economy is likely within our lifetimes, 然而, Australian research can greatly improve our predictive capability,门克教授说.

The 10-year plan also highlights other challenges facing Australia’s space R&D sector that must be addressed to ensure Australia’s space economy is competitive and to mitigate sovereign risk Australia currently faces. These include a significant workforce skills gap, 一个特别的资助环境, and a lack of a national strategy for space with no long-term plan to address knowledge and capability gaps.

Professor Menk says while the Australian Government’s recent investments in space are stimulating growth of the space industry sector, the space science research and innovation capabilities necessary to develop a sustainable national space ecosystem have not been similarly enabled.

“Australia must have a space industry of its own – one that we can turn into a high-tech manufacturing, 以知识为基础的, 研究支持, export industry in a world hungry for it,门克教授说.

“An internationally competitive space industry in Australia will depend on a foundation of excellence in science and technology.”

这声音回响着 最近发表的报告 by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, 创新, 科学与资源, and numerous Australian and international studies on development of space industry capabilities.

The parliamentary report recommended that the Australia Government prioritise and promote the importance of space science as fundamental to innovation and growth of the Australian space sector.

Among the Academy’s 10-year plan’s other recommendations are: establishing a Lead Scientist in the Australian Space Agency; establishing space science as a national research priority and committing to and investing in an ongoing national space program. The plan details three pillars to be built in space science: discovery and exploration, 增长和弹性, 和健康.

Australia in Space: a decadal plan for Australian space science 2021-2030.

This decadal plan presents a strategy developed through extensive stakeholder consultation. 学院 acknowledges the financial support that enabled this project, 由澳大利亚航天局提供, Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, 和SmartSat CRC. The views represented in this document do not necessarily reflect the views of, 也不暗示赞同, any individual or any working group members’ affiliated organisations.

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