SGAC Australia

National Points of Contact
Lisa Stojanovski
Jul 2016-Jul 2018

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Australia has had a long history as a player in space, and despite perhaps a few too many sabbaticals and no space agency, we were the fourth nation to put a satellite in space and are one of the original members of COPUOS. Woomera Test Range was a major part of early rocket launches and is still active today. The major Australian universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in space science and engineering and undertake cutting edge research and development. Since 2011, the International Space University has held the Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program jointly with the University of South Australia in Adelaide. Now is an exciting time for space in Australia! 

Following the 2008 Senate Space Inquiry, the Space Policy Unit (SPU) of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) was founded in 2009, making significant progress towards a whole-of-government space policy. 2010 saw the announcement and implementation of the SPU Australian Space Research Program (ASRP) Grants with over $34M awarded for education development and project grants. Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy was released in April 2013, and was Australia’s first ever space policy document. After Government changes, the Space Policy Unit no longer exists and is replaced by the Space Coordination Office, established in July 2013 within the Department of Industry. The Space Coordination Office is the central point of contact for all Australia’s civil space activities. A central government website for all things space in Australia can be found at In October 2015, the government announced a review of the Space Activities Act (1998). Stakeholder submissions closed in April 2016 and the results of the review will be published in the near future.

There are now ever increasing opportunities, projects and educational programs for Australians to be involved in space on home soil, including the International Astronautical Congress which will be held in Adelaide in 2017.


Young Space Activities Overview in Australia 

There are many opportunities to participate in Australia’s emerging space future. Contact one of your NPoCs to discover where you could fit!

  • School: The Australian Youth Aerospace Forum (AYAF) is held annually for motivated students in Year 11 and 12. There are multiple other competitions and award opportunities for high school students, including the Australian Space Design Competition and the APRSAF Water Rocket Competition. AYAF was held from 27th June - 1st July 2016.
  • University: It is possible to join the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) or the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) student groups, participate in conferences, and become involved in various astronomy and space societies across the country. Particularly for those with engineering backgrounds, you can apply to attend the annual Australian Youth Aerospace Association (AYAA) Aerospace Futures student conference. Final year projects at university over recent years have included small satellites, experimental supersonic ramjets, rocket gliders and more. If your university does not offer a space project, and you have an idea, look for support, put together a team and propose your own project! Students at Melbourne University have created Melbourne Space Program – utilising students from engineering, science, law, marketing, media and other disciplines to run a 5-day festival (Final Frontier Festival) and build a cubesat. There is also the opportunity for undergraduate science/engineering space projects to be entered in the VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize, offering a NASA internship over the Australian winter.  University students (as well as industry professionals) have the opportunity to attend the ISU Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program, a five-week interdisciplinary space course held over January and February in Adelaide.
  • Young professionals: Industry professionals meet up at various conferences and events, such as SpaceUp or Orbit Oz,during the year and with growing momentum in local space activities, there are many opportunities for motivated young people to become involved.

Every odd numbered year the spectacular Avalon Airshow is held in Victoria. The 2017 show will be held from 28th February to 5th March. National societies and organizations always welcome new involvement and are very happy to be contacted by interested young people. Many public lectures, events, conferences, astronomy evenings and education programs are held nationwide throughout the year, and most are free to attend.


2016 Updates

    • The International Space University’s Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program ran in Adelaide, Australia for the 5th time. There were 31 participants from 11 countries who produced a White Paper called ‘Sensing Progress – Space Solutions for Food and Water Security’. A number of free public lectures and events were also held as part of the program that ran from 10 January to 13th February 2016.
    • Submissions for the review of the Space Activities Act closed on April 30th 2016. The review is being conducted by the government with the advice of space lawyer Professor Steven Freeland. The results should be available a few months after the submission closing date.
    • In May 2016, the first ever Australian ‘Overseas Launch Certificate’ was signed by Science and Industry Minister Christopher Pyne for the Australian start-up company Quberider.
    • The Australian Youth Aerospace Forum (AYAF) ran from 27th June to 1st July in Brisbane, Queensland. The AYAF is a five-day live-in conference which provides students in years 11 and 12 the opportunity to investigate careers and pathways in the aerospace industry.
    • The Final Frontier Festival ran in Melbourne from June 29th to July 3rd 2016. The 5 day event was organised by Melbourne Space Program and included Family Day (with family friendly presentations and children’s activities), technical presentations, a space hackathon, an exhibition, and a SpaceUp unconference.

Country-Specific Events in 2016

  • - International Space University’s Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program – a 5 week residential program for undergraduates, graduates and professionals, covering a range of topics including space policy, space law, business, engineering and space science. Dates for 2017: January 9th – February 10th.
  • Applications for IAF Emerging Space Leaders Grant Programme, International/Nationwide (February deadline): Full scholarships for selected students and young professionals to attend the IAC2016.
  • - OrbitOz – Monthly space meet-ups in major Australian cities. Currently in Sydney and Adelaide, why not start one in your city?
  • - SpaceUp Australia – A space themed unconference that runs annually. Participants become presenters and guide the topics of discussion. Previous events included Melbourne (2016), Sydney (2015) and Adelaide (2014).
  • - Final Frontier Festival  – A 5 day festival run in June/July by Melbourne Space Program, including guest speakers, children’s activities, exhibitions and a space hackathon
  • Yuri's Night, International/Nationwide (12 April): The World Space Party! Come and celebrate the anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first manned spaceflight on April 12, 1961, and the inaugural launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981. Parties are held all around the country (and the world) on this night.
  • International Space Apps Challenge International/Nationwide (10-12 April): An international collaborative project-based challenge run by NASA, with Australian events registered in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth in 2016.  More than 50 technical challenges have been proposed to address space activities and the public engagement and distribution of knowledge and data from space missions.
  • Australian Space Design Competition:  A series of competitions involving the design of space infrastructure, open to high school students.  Part of the International Space Settlement Design Competition, with international finals held at Johnson Space Center in Texas.
  • - Australian Youth Aerospace Forum (AYAF), (June – July): A five-day conference which provides senior high school students with the opportunity to investigate careers and pathways in the aerospace industry. The forum is designed to showcase the various university and industry opportunities available to students upon completion of secondary school.
  • Aerospace Futures Conference, (July): Aerospace Futures is a three-day conference designed to expose over 150 university students to opportunities in the aerospace industry. During the conference, delegates will hear from a variety of industry representatives speaking on topics relevant to students who are interested in pursuing a career in aerospace. Applications closed 9/6/16.
  • Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (CONASTA), Brisbane (3-6 July): CONASTA is the annual Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA).
  • National Engineering Week, Nationwide (August): An annual event to promote engineering in Australia.
  • National Science Week, Nationwide (15-23 August): An annual event facilitating a broad range of science related education and outreach activities.
  • - International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2016, Guadalajara, Mexico(26th-30 September): The IAC is one of the largest Space congresses/conferences; with an extensive paper presentation series, plenary lectures, special presentations, and an exhibition of space companies and organisations. The theme of the 2016 International Astronautical Congress is “Making space accessible and affordable to all countries”.
  • Australian Space Research Conference (ASRC), Melbourne, September 26 - 28, 2016The ASRC is the primary annual meeting for Australian research relating to space science.
  • World Space Week, International/Nationwide, (4-10 October, 2016): An international event series showcasing the role of global space activities through education and outreach events. The theme for 2016 is “Remote Sensing – Enabling Our Future”.
  • VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize (encompassing the EA Undergraduate Thesis Prize in Space Engineering), with applications opening on Monday October 5th and closing midnight Wednesday December 3rd 2016. Offers an Australian university student the opportunity to attend one of three 10 week NASA Academy programs, or participate in a NASA affiliated summer program, and work with a lead scientist or engineer on a current NASA project. The VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize is open to all Australian undergraduate students completing their final or honours year at an Australian University in 2016.
  • - South Australian Space School – A 3 day residential program for Year 10 students that includes a visit by an astronaut. Graduates have the chance to attend National Space Camp VSSEC, a 5 day residential conference in Melbourne, Victoria. SASS 2016 marks the 20th year of the program and will be held from 5th-7th October 2016.


Interesting Web Links for the Space Generation in Australia 

A current database of Newspace ventures in Australia - 

Australia and New Zealand Space Groups (A directory of space related groups and jobs in Australia and New Zealand)

Groups, People, Institutions

Research and Education Groups and Facilities


(The majority of these Bachelor degrees can be combined with a double degree in Arts/Law/Computer Science/Science/Commerce/Economics/Mathematics). Also note that nearly all universities below offer PhD studies in the related fields.

Australian National Territory

New South Wales


South Australia



Western Australia


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