Major funding boost for Tasmania’s space tracking role

Tasmania’s space tracking facilities are to get a $1.2 million upgrade, as part of the Space Infrastructure Fund.

The Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, said in Launceston on Friday (3 May 2019) that improving Tasmanian space facilities would further cement Australia’s place in the global space industry, along with Europe, North and South America and Asia.

“The upgraded University of Tasmania facilities will allow precision tracking of satellites and spacecraft. Not only will this improve our technological prowess, but it will also have a positive flow-on effect for local researchers, education facilities and the next generation of space enthusiasts.”

The Head of Physics at the University of Tasmania, Professor Simon Ellingsen, added:

“This is a great opportunity for us to expand our activities in this area and we’re very excited about that as it opens up a whole range of commercial and scientific opportunities, both for Tasmanian and Australian researchers.

“We’ve been looking to grow our involvement in the space area and this funding allows us to play a direct role in the development of the industry across Australia.”

“At the moment we’ve got a limited ability to do things and this will essentially increase it by a factor of 10.”

The Minister said that this project was part of the $19.5 million Space Infrastructure Fund announced in the Budget, which will build Australia’s space capabilities by supporting infrastructure investment across the country.

Pictured: the University’s Bisdee Tier optical astronomy observatory, opened in February 2013.

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