Mid West’s place in the space race

Tamra CarrMidwest Times
A group of people look up at the stars over Giles Park in Moonyoonooka.
Camera IconA group of people look up at the stars over Giles Park in Moonyoonooka. Credit: Ken Lawson Photography.

The Mid West space industry is urged to grab a share of $15 million in funding the Commonwealth is providing to grow the Australian space sector.

Deputy head of the Australian Space Agency Anthony Murfett said many businesses could contribute to out-of-this-world activities because they already participated in similar industries.

“Some of these types of companies are already supplying materials and components for our agriculture and mining industries, and the harsh environments of Antarctica and desert and marine environments,” he said.

“Products manufactured for these extreme conditions may now be suited to space and zero-gravity environments.”

A variety of businesses may be eligible for the grants, including those which manufacture seals, coatings and actuators. Businesses involved in automation technology used in mining may also qualify, as well as food growers.

“(Things like) agriculture in space, packaging and treatment, growing food in zero gravity, how will this be stored long-term,” Mr Murfett added.

The Mid West and Gascoyne has a strong history with the space industry, including Carnarvon’s involvement in the Moon landing.

Meanwhile, the Murchison is likely to host the Square Kilometre Array, an international radio telescope project.

Mr Murfett said space technologies touched almost every sector of the national economy.

“There are a range of businesses that can now consider space as an area of opportunity,” he said.

“Access to space is becoming cheaper and easier due to the lower cost of launch and the miniaturisation of technology.”

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