Canberra has the stars in its sights  

Posted 29 Nov 2017

Story by CBR Canberra

It’s official—Canberra is the space capital of Australia.

Yesterday’s opening of the Australian National Concurrent Design Facility for Space Missions (ANCDF) at the University of New South Wales, Canberra (UNSW Canberra) means a giant leap for Canberra-kind.

The opening of the facility makes it possible for space missions to be planned from blast off to touch down, right here in Canberra.

It’s another win for Canberra, with the first-of-its-kind facility attracting the best and brightest space minds in the country. A team of over 40 space engineers, scientists and PhD students are set to bring experience from around the globe, including space programs for NASA and the European Space Agency.

Combined with the Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre at Mount Stromlo, Canberra will be at the forefront for future space missions. Right here, right now, we now have the capability for the design, assembly and testing of spacecrafts.

With funding from both the UNSW Canberra and the ACT government, UNSW Canberra Space Director Professor Boyd says the investment will lead to growth in Canberra.

“This is a world-class facility that will play an important role in the growth of jobs across the sector, including researchers, designers, engineers, technicians, software specialists, and beyond,” he said.

The first contract has been secured, with the Royal Australian Air Force contributing $10 million in funding over two years to build three spacecrafts.

With the French Space Agency CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), who have previously worked with NASA, providing software and training for the facility, the facility will be working with world-class equipment.

Professor Russel Boyce says that the facility will be a national asset, sentiments echoed by ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr who thinks Canberra is the “logical place for Australia’s national space agency to be located.”

“We are the home of the nation’s space industry leaders and Canberra has become Australia’s space capital. This facility will provide Canberra and Australia with the edge that we need to succeed in this competitive market,” says Minister Barr.

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