Inquiry hears from Australia’s first astronaut on space technology and the space industry

By Melissa Coade

April 19, 2021

Paul Scully-Power
Paul Scully-Power (AAP Image/David Moir)

Dr Paul Scully-Power, an Australian-American oceanographer and veteran astronaut, has shared his insights of ‘next world revolution’ via the space industry with a house standing committee today.

Appearing before an inquiry into developing Australia’s space industry that met in Sydney on Monday, Dr Scully-Power shared his ideas about ‘new space’, new technologies, and new opportunities for people to be involved in the space industry. 

The 76-year-old was the first Australian-born astronaut to journey into space when he flew aboard NASA’s STS-41-G space shuttle mission in 1984. He was also a qualified naval diver and former chair of Australia’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Barnaby Joyce, chair of the house standing committee on industry, innovation, science and resources, said it was important for Australia to have the industry and manufacturing capabilities to develop space related technologies locally. 

“For Australia to be competitive, we need to not only foster these technologies and their applications but ensure we have people with the right skills and expertise to make it happen,” Mr Joyce said.

Investing in these manufacturing sites would benefit regional industries with the space sector, he added

“There is so much potential for our rural and regional areas to benefit from and get involved in Australia’s space sector. 

“This includes […] the application of space related technology and infrastructure to agriculture, health and telecommunications; and of course the uptake of regional education and training to better equip young people to build careers in this industry,” Mr Joyce said. 

Other witnesses appearing before the committee in Sydney include Saber Astronautics, Solar Space Technologies, Moonshot, and the Space Industry Association of Australia.

Tomorrow the committee will travel to Armidale to see how satellites, sensors and software are being used in agriculture and farm management at the University of New England’s SMART Farm Innovation Centre.


These satellites capture ultra high-res images even when it’s dark or cloudy

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