A Who’s Who of the Australian space sector, including astronauts, rocket scientists and engineers, will be in Adelaide tomorrow for the Defence SA and the Space Industry Association of South Australia Space Forum.

A lead into the 68th International Astronautical Congress set down for Adelaide in September 2017, the event will also see the official launch of Australia’s first space action plan, the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy: (South Australia) Action Plan 2016-2020.

Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton Smith said forum delegates include leading academics and educational providers, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, policy makers, consultants, postgraduate students and others with an interest in the space sector.

Attendees include former NASA astronaut, Adelaide-born Andy Thomas; Andrea Boyd, ISS Flight Systems Controller; European Space Agency and representatives of multinationals including Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Nova Systems. The event is the second in a series that’s aimed at growing the South Australian space sector by encouraging growth and innovation.


The new Space Innovation and Growth Strategy (South Australia): Action Plan 2016-2020 provides for a three pillared government-led action plan that is designed to:

  • grow the South Australian economy through space activity;
  • invigorate South Australia’s space innovation ecosystem and
  • engage international cooperation with leading global space players.

Next year’s 68th International Astronautical Congress will be held in Adelaide from 25-29 September and is set to attract more than 3000 international and local delegates, including the world’s leading space agencies.

Quotes attributable to Defence Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith

When you consider that the space industry is worth $323 billion globally and Australia’s share in that market is less than one percent—there is tremendous room for growth.

South Australia is leading the way in the growth and development of Australia’s space sector and it is our vision to position the state as a vibrant hub for future space activity and industry development.

The past decade has seen a dramatic reduction in the cost and production times involved in developing space technologies and innovative South Australian companies are taking advantage of this.

This year for example, students and researchers from the Universities of Adelaide and South Australia built one of the four small satellites developed in Australia in the past two years.

Quotes attributable to Space Industry Association of SA Chair Michael Davis

Our successful bid to host the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide next year has already produced benefits for the Australian space sector, but perhaps the most significant to date is the way the South Australian Government has embraced the opportunities that hosting the world’s most diverse and prestigious space event presents.

Rather than waiting to see what opportunities the Congress will produce, the South Australian Government, through Defence SA, is already implementing a plan for South Australia to become a leading hub in the national space economy.

There is good reason to believe that over the next 20 years in Australia and South Australia we will witness the successful growth to maturity of the government/industry initiative which is only just beginning.

Quotes attributable to IAC 2017 Local Organising Committee Chief Executive, Brett Biddington AM

There is considerable interest from foreign space agencies and companies seeking to exhibit in Adelaide as well as growing interest from schools to be involved in IAC 2017. Both the State Library and Museum are planning space exhibits during the conference week which will be of interest to the wider community.