4 January 2023

Canberra's James Palmer ready for lift-off to Australian Space Summit

| Katrina Condie
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The 2022 space summit

Canberran James Palmer will outline Space Centre Australia’s progress at the 2023 Space Summit. Photo: Australian Space Summit.

James Palmer will be among the country’s leaders in space technology when he takes the stage at the Australian Space Summit in May.

The Canberra-based Space Centre Australia (SCA) founder and CEO will speak about the country’s booming launch sector and outline the latest developments of SCA’s $350 million space port facility to be built near Weipa in Far North Queensland.

“We are very humbled to be invited to speak at next year’s national space symposium to present Space Centre Australia on a national platform and to highlight the wide-ranging benefits Australia’s first large-scale multi-use space port will provide,” he said.

“We will be talking more about SCA’s progress to date and potentially making some major announcements relating to the project and its direction.

“We also plan on speaking about SCA’s international reach and domestic economic impact on the region and country.”

Other guest speakers at the summit include Australian National University (ANU) Institute for Space mission specialist Dr Cassandra Steer and senior leaders from Amazon, LeoLabs and KPMG.

Australia’s first astronaut, Dr Paul Scully-Power will also address the summit.

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The event will showcase the potential of space-based solar power and reveal how Australia can further human space exploration by developing permanent rocket launch sites and a dedicated space command, and becoming involved in the Moon-to-Mars initiative.

After a sell-out inaugural event, the Australian Space Summit returns for its second year at Sydney’s International Convention and Exhibition Centre on 17 May 2023.

Leaders in space technology, research and development, STEM, the defence industry, government representatives and new entrants to the space supply chain will share their insights and experiences within the sector.

Australia is at a tipping point for an exciting new space chapter, with increasing satellite activities, launch capabilities set to compete with the world’s biggest, and a growing footprint in global space exploration.

Mr Palmer said SCA was expanding its international footprint, opening an office in London in December 2022.

James outside office

SCA CEO James Palmer (left) is excited to open an office in the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus alongside more than 100 space companies including RAL Space, the UK’s national space laboratory. Photo: SCA.

After meeting with UK government counterparts to discuss future collaboration between SCA and the British space industry, he said the organisation’s first overseas office sat alongside the European Space Agency and Astroscale in the “Space Cluster” on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.

“Space Centre Australia will very much be a part of the fabric of the British space industry and this office shows our commitment to creating pathways to expand the space skills sector,” Mr Palmer said.

Department for International Trade (DIT)’s Space Sector Team senior trade and investment adviser Henry Sayers said SCA’s launch capabilities brought an exciting dynamic to the UK-Australia Space Bridge.

“Space Centre Australia expanding into the UK gives DIT more confidence of opportunities to address the emerging trends for higher demands on the global launch market,” Mr Sayers said.

“The commercial returns for the UK and Australia on launch services have room for rapid growth and we look forward to the opportunity for providing a truly end-to-end service, from designing a satellite through to launch and mission control, within the UK.”

READ ALSO Canberra rocket men and women sought ahead of space centre launch

The Queensland space port in Weipa is anticipated to have small launch capabilities by 2024. By 2028, it is hoped to become the first site in Australia capable of large geostationary transfer orbit.

“Launch is a key element to UK and Australian national space strategies, and is an important area for bilateral collaboration,” Mr Sayers said.

“It is a timely complement to the launch and spaceflight capabilities being established in the UK.”

UK Space Agency International director Sarah Boyall welcomed SCA’s addition to the Harwell Space Cluster, home to more than 100 innovative space companies.

“Like the UK, our colleagues in the Australian space sector have ambitious plans for commercial launch, and we are pleased to see this includes collaborating with UK skills and expertise,” Ms Boyall said.

Construction of the SCA facility is expected to start this year. Once completed, the cutting-edge facility will offer lower-cost access to space and give Australia a competitive advantage in the race to win commercial launches and private missions by the likes of Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos.

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