On February 23, 2021, the Space Bridge Framework Arrangement was signed at Westminster, London, United Kingdom, and at the residence of the British High Commissioner in Canberra, Australia. The new partnership will increase investment and knowledge exchange between the space sectors of the two countries.
The Space Bridge is the first of its kind and will provide many benefits for both countries. Trade access will improve, there will be new research opportunities, and businesses will have better advice and bilateral collaborations.
With the help of this partnership, cooperation and coordination will improve between entities such as the UK Department for International Trade, the UK Space Agency, the Australian Space Agency, and the Australian Trade & Investment Commission. Other related organizations of both countries will work in unison regarding space-related activities. This includes the sharing of Earth Observation data as well as collaborations on artificial and robotic intelligence.
The UK and Australia have a long relationship when it comes to the space sector. In the 1970s, the Prospero satellite, which was built in Farnborough, UK, was launched from South Australia’s RAAF Woomera Range Complex.
Space Bridge agreement will help both countries become global space powers
The space agency heads of both countries noted that the collaboration will help both the UK and Australia to become highly competitive global space powers.
Dr. Graham Turnock, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Space Agency, said: “As the UK extends its ambitions in space, it’s only right that we forge new and stronger alliances with new and existing partners all across the globe.”
“This agreement has the potential to unleash innovation, promote knowledge exchange and build relationships that will help both the UK and Australia maximize the vast economic and scientific potential that the space sector offers. It will help create better opportunities and greater security for people in both nations,” added Dr. Graham.
Enrico Palermo, Head of the Australian Space Agency, said: “The Space Bridge Framework Arrangement will help propel the Australian civil space industry into its next phase of growth, opening doors to build local capability, as well as significantly boost our collaboration with the UK Space Agency.”
The space sector is among the fastest-growing sectors in the UK and it is expected that almost 30,000 new jobs will be created by 2030, while the Australian space sector is expected to create 20,000 new jobs.
The Space Bridge announcement comes at a crucial time as Australia and UK both commence the 4th round of negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement. Important progress has already been made in many areas, including rules of origin, telecommunications, digital, customs, and procurement.