Australia: Australia”s economy is the most buoyant in the developed world. It should seriously consider launching its own EO satellite to tap the potential of this growing market, urged Professor Andrew Dempster, through an article published at ABC.net.au. Professor Dempster is Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) at the University of New South Wales
His article explained that earth observations (EO) from space will be worth USD 4 billion annually to the Australian economy by 2015. Satellite-based contributions to weather forecasting alone are valued at USD 400 million per year. On the other hand, financial crisis in the US and Europe have put satellite mission in jeopardy. A recent report from the National Academies noted that “the number of in-orbit and planned NASA and NOAA Earth observing missions is projected to decline precipitously from 23 in 2012 to only 6 in 2020″. The European Space Agency”s Sentinel – is under threat of being scrapped due to severe budget cuts.
Historically, Australia”s approach to developing its own space capability has been risk-averse and indecisive. The Space Policy Unit has stated that; “The Australian Government does not see an Australian satellite manufacturing or launch capability as an essential element of its approach to assured access to critical space-enabled services.”
Geoscience Australia, last month, signed an MoU with the US that will ensure access to data from the upcoming Landsat 8 mission planned for 2013. The step highlighted that the Australian government has acknowledged the risk to the nation’s wellbeing due to lack of EO data.
The article therefore, urged the government of Australia to launch its own EO satellite and reduce its dependency on other nations for EO data.