For over 50 years, Canberra has been Australia’s Space Capital, leading the nation’s space industry with its infrastructure, businesses and research and training for commercial, military and civil space applications. The Canberra Region’s space and spatial capabilities are in research and development, space systems, launch activities, ground systems, space enabled services including satellite communications, earth observation and positional navigation and timing, spatial technology, support services and education and training. The industry collaborates with military, telecommunication organisations, major space contractors, two ACT world- leading universities, NASA research activities, and international space agencies and researchers.

Key location factors

World-class infrastructure and facilities

Canberra has one of the three global Deep Space Network stations operated for NASA; state of the art spacecraft development and test facilities at the Australian National University (ANU)’s Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre (AITC); a national mission design facility, complementary spacecraft facilities, satellite operation ground station and space surveillance telescopes at University of NSW Canberra; a world-class Laser Ranging Facility owned by Electro Optics System; and the National Computational Infrastructure which supports a range of programs in space science, astronomy and earth observation.

Access to a large, highly technical and scientific workforce

Canberra has Australia’s highest educated workforce and is home to Australia’s top ranked international university-ANU. The world’s leading aerospace prime contractors are headquartered here coupled with a thriving and vibrant hub of innovative world-class small, medium and large Canberra space related enterprises including  Electro Optic Systems (EOS), Geospatial Intelligence, Geoplex, Locata, CEA Technologies, Liquid Instruments, Quintessence Labs, and SHOAL Group. In addition, Canberra has an abundance of high-tech companies developing viable, cutting-edge technologies in fields such as renewable energy and cyber, providing a fertile environment for innovation opportunities with these cross-supporting sectors.

Proximity to top-ranked universities and research institutions

ANU and UNSW Canberra are the most active in space related disciplines in Australia. Both conduct research and commercial application development in space engineering (including miniature satellite space mission skills and facilities), instrumentation, space physics, space propulsion, astronomy and astrophysics, earth science, remote sensing and geospatial applications, laser physics, optics and photonics, material science, space dynamics and control, systems engineering, and more. UNSW Canberra also offers space-related bachelor and master courses in aeronautical engineering and technology (Aviation).

Canberra is also home to a number of national space related research institutions including Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO (Astronomy and Space Science), Australia’s Space Environment Research Centre (SERC), the Collaborative Research Centre for Spatial Information and Geoscience Australia.

Business organisations and resources designed to encourage industry growth

With our businesses, infrastructure, innovation and research strengths Canberra is well placed to grow and sustain a viable future in the space and spatial industry sector. The ACT Government is committed to working with the sector to help build a significant and globally competitive industry. The ACT Government has programs and supports industry networks to encourage and develop commercial activity in the space, ICT, defence and higher education and research sectors.

The ACT Government is committed to: ongoing identification and promotion of investment and trade opportunities within the space and spatial industry in Canberra; driving Federal Government recognition of the significance and growth potential of the sector; improving coordination and development of sector-related policy across all levels of government; growing public, business and political awareness and commitment to the viability of the sector; collaborating with all sector players to define strategic focus for growing the industry; and continuing to attract and support emerging technologies, entrepreneurs, and businesses in Canberra.

Click here to view Canberra’s Space Capability Directory (PDF 1MB)