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New satellite centre gets funding windfall

Satellites will be used to improve advanced communications and observations of Earth from space at a research centre set to receive $55 million from the federal government.

The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre in Adelaide will complement the work of the Australian Space Agency, with both to be based in the South Australian capital.

The collaborative research body is led by the space industry, with 74 participants adding to the government’s spend by chipping in $167 million.

Science Minister Karen Andrews said the centre will support the creation of new technologies for sectors such as agriculture, logistics, communications and mining.

It will also help strengthen national defence and security.

“SmartSat CRC will foster the creation of next-generation space technologies and professionals,” Andrews said. “Our aim is to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries.”

The announced funding had already been committed, meaning it is not an election promise ahead of Australians going to the polls on May 18.

The centre will aim to help 73 PhD students graduate, and advance gender and diversity equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-related industries.

South Australian premier Steven Marshall said the new centre was part of SA’s continuing “space odyssey”.

He said the CRC had the potential to be more important than the establishment of the Australian Space Agency in Adelaide.

“There is no doubt in my mind that this will create thousands of jobs for our young people here in South Australia and quite frankly around the country in the most exciting area possible,” Marshall said.

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