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South Australia pursues downstream space economy segment


A report by the South Australian Space Industry Centre has determined that almost 1.5 million Australian companies need space-derived applications.

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According to the report’s author, Gianluca Strada, the largest market for the Australian space industry is supplying solutions to companies that may not even know they need them.

Strada, who produced the report as part of an international internship with the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) in Adelaide, determined through Australian Bureau of Statistics data that more than 1.4 million Australian businesses operated in industries that could benefit from space-derived technology.

He found that although talk of Australia’s new Space Agency had people thinking of rocket launches and space exploration, the biggest market was in exploiting space technology for the benefit of businesses on earth.

Strada said that the space economy consisted of upstream and downstream segments, with the upstream segment including all activities focussed on launching spacecraft.

“The downstream segment refers to all activities that employ data and knowledge that are derived from the space for Earth-related objectives as well as the products and services that support them,” he said.

“In other words, the upstream segment can be seen as the provision of space technology, whereas the downstream segment can be seen as the exploitation of space technology.”

According to Strada, more than half of the global US$329 billion space economy is concentrated in the downstream segment, which includes Earth observation, GPS systems and satellite communications.

Australian businesses in industries as diverse as farming and financial services rely on these systems and he found a massive opportunity for Space 2.0 companies to develop new technologies for the market.

“Operators involved in the downstream segment need to raise awareness of the importance of space technologies and provide high quality, affordable and user-friendly services,” Strada said.

SASIC director Nicola Sasanelli said South Australian companies Fleet Space Technologies and Myriota were examples of businesses driving the downstream sector.

Fleet, which this week announced it’s first two nanosatellites would be launched by the end of 2018, plans to link up the Internet of Things with its satellites and LoRaWAN™hub technology.

Myriota, a spinoff technology company from the University of South Australia, this year raised $15 million to further its IoT network of sensors, attracting investment from Boeing.

“South Australia is involved in this fantastic journey to the knowledge economy and space activities are very important to this,” Sasanelli said.

Sasanelli said Morgan Stanley expected the space economy to hit US$1.1 trillion by 2040, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimated it would grow eight-fold in the next 30 years, reaching US$2.7 trillion in 2045.

“At the moment we (Australia) take .08 per cent of the $300 billion global space economy that is growing at 9 per cent a year, so there is still an opportunity for us to be active in this area,” Sasanelli.

“Other countries with space agencies, like Canada, manage $500 million per year and they are part of the big, global program.

It’s an ambition for our industries and our research centres to be involved in these global programs.”

Sasanelli said South Australia had 30 organisations involved in the space industry just 12 months ago.

“Now it is 60, with more than 800 jobs in these South Australian organisations,” he said.

“Growing Australia’s space industry to realise its full potential will take a truly national approach and this is something which South Australia has consistently worked towards.”

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story. Copied to Clipboard

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