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Space in Western Australia

Unique geographical advantages, technical expertise, and significant space infrastructure for both civil and defence applications are the bedrock for Western Australia’s burgeoning space industry.

Home to around 70 companies operating in space and space-related services, Western Australia has strong capabilities in astronomy, ground-based satellite and deep space communications, space situational awareness, data processing and analysis, and world-leading remote operations capabilities. There are also emerging capabilities and activities in optical communications, CubeSat design, manufacturing and operation, launch and the translation of space technologies into terrestrial sectors.

Western Australia’s space industry is backed by a strong space science sector, with high-quality space education and research concentrated at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia (UWA).

  • The Space Science and Technology Centre at Curtin University has world-class capabilities in pure and applied planetary research, and is the largest research group of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The International Space Centre at UWA is seizing new opportunities for knowledge transfer, technology development, impactful research and education across fields including laser communications and timing, satellite remote sensing and space IT.
  • The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, a joint venture of Curtin University and UWA, is independently ranked in the world’s top 5 university-based radio astronomy research centres.
  • The Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy is a world-class radio astronomy institute with a significant international profile, leadership roles in a number of international projects, and first-rate science and engineering outputs.

Western Australia also offers access to cutting-edge test bed facilities, including the:

  • Space Automation, AI and Robotics Control Complex, a world-class facility for training, testing and controlling remote and autonomous operations and catalyst for commercial collaboration and innovation
  • Australian Space Data Analysis Facility, which allows SMEs to access and use space data to develop new products and services.
  • Mingenew Space Precinct, located within a radio quiet zone, which already hosts several government and private ground stations supporting satellite tracking and space communications activities for commercial, government and international space agencies.

A new Australian Automation and Robotics Precinct that will be used for testing and R&D, as well as training in autonomous, remote operations and robotic systems and equipment, will also be set up in WA.

Incentives, grants and support

Space sector businesses are eligible for support through the Western Australian’s Government’s A$100 million Investment Attraction and New Industries Fund (IANIF). This includes Innovation Vouchers Program grants of up to A$20,000 for start-ups and small businesses looking to commercialise their ideas and innovations.

There are also Regional Economic Development grants for projects that contribute to jobs, skills or economic diversification in the state’s regional areas.

Invest and Trade WA provides non-financial support. Its team of business facilitation professionals can help you to assess your business requirements and forge connections with government and industry.

Case studies

  • Perth is the headquarters for the Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE), a not-for-profit, industry-led national consortium to advance and translate Western Australia’s world leading robotic, autonomous and remote operation expertise from Earth to space and back again. AROSE members include space, resource and technology companies.
  • Curtin University's Space Science and Technology Centre has developed the Binar CubeSat, the first spacecraft to be fully designed and manufactured in Australia using Curtin University’s innovative integrated sub-system printed circuit board. Using cost-effective manufacturing, it will provide an accessible sovereign platform, enabling easy access to space for students, researchers and industry. The first satellite was launched into space in August 2021 with a further six to follow in 2022, forming Australia's first home grown constellation of satellites in space.