The UK and Australia have signed a new ‘Space Bridge’ partnership to increase knowledge exchange and investment across the two countries’ space sectors.  

A UK government announcement said the Space Bridge will unlock improved access to trade, investment and academic research opportunities, better advice to businesses and innovative bilateral collaborations.  

The UK and Australia share future ambitions for space and have similar plans to increase the size and job creation potential of the sector. This agreement will further develop the longstanding relationship between the two countries, which dates back to the 1970s when the Prospero satellite built in Farnborough launched from Woomera, South Australia. 

The arrangement enhances cooperation between the UK Space Agency, UK Department for International Trade, Australian Trade & Investment Commission, and the Australian Space Agency, coordinating opportunities for the UK and Australian governments and companies to work on space-related activities, including sharing Earth Observation data to collaborating on robotic and artificial intelligence. 

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“The signing of today’s Space Bridge partnership, a world’s first, with one of our closet international allies, is another step forward in our ambition for the UK to become a globally-competitive space power,” said UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway. 

“The bond will allow our most innovative space businesses and universities to collaborate and share best practice more effectively than ever. I’m excited to see how this partnership will unlock new space jobs in both countries while driving forward new ideas that could enrich all of our lives.” 

The UK boasts strong foreign direct investment levels into its space sector while the Australian space sector is said to have a strong appetite to expand operations into the UK.  

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,” said Dr Graham Turnock, CEO of the UK Space Agency. 

This agreement has the potential to unleash innovation, promote knowledge exchange and build relationships that will help both the UK and Australia maximise 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. 

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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 one of the fastest-growing UK sectors with 30,000 new jobs expected by 2030. The Australian space sector is also growing with up to 20,000 new Australian jobs expected by 2030.