[STSP] Media comments on the Decadal Plan

Phil Wilkinson phil at ips.gov.au
Thu Oct 4 12:41:13 EST 2007

Dear All,

today's the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik.

Fyi, here's an article in today's Australian that relates to
Sputnik and ongoing steps towards an Austalian space effort.

I've tried to be cautious about the Plan, since it's still
incomplete, but I'm still pleased with the article. In one
sense the timing is not right for us (it is really too early
since the Plan is incomplete), but that's life and my judgement
is that almost any positive PR is better than none. Above all we want
to build recognition that Australia has very good space
scientists and should have a recognised national research effort.
This will take persistence and time, and will be helped by articles
like today's.

I also had a radio interview (3AW in Melbourne) at about 7:20 am,
which I think I fluffed, and one with Sandy Aloisi (Australian
on-line, I believe) at about 7:45 that I think went well. If
another call comes for a radio interview then I think I'll be
ready .... famous last words.



---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2007 08:08:23 +1000
Subject: Australian Space Program?


The Australian

Crashing plan for space era take-off

Leigh Dayton, Science writer | October 04, 2007

SCIENTISTS have called on the federal Government to provide $100 million
over 10 years to help launch an Australian space program.

Spearheading the Australian push into space would be Sundiver, a mission to
send the first spacecraft crashing into the Sun, beating NASA and the
European Space Agency to what has been described as the "holy grail" of
space physics. The craft would send data back to Earth before burning up.

The second mission would involve a satellite designed to study the upper
atmosphere in order to better understand weather patterns, climate change
and electrical activity.

The push for a place in space, coinciding with today's 50th anniversary of
the launch of Sputnik, is outlined in a draft document developed by the
Australian Academy of Science's National Committee for Space Science (NCSS)
obtained by The Australian.

In the document researchers including University of Sydney space plasma
physicist Iver Cairns call for the creation of a co-ordinated national space
policy. It would support research into fields such as remote sensing,
planetary evolution, astrobiology, satellite technology and instrumentation.

Professor Cairns said another key recommendation was the establishment of a
national space science co-ordination group, charged with bringing together
the players in the research industry and linking up with overseas space

"For the first time the (space science) community is completing a decadal
plan which tells everybody - government and other scientists - what it wants
to do," said Professor Cairns, chair of the NCSS.

Science Minister Julie Bishop said she looked forward to receiving the final
plan, which would help "long-term, strategic thinking". But she stressed
that Australia met its space-based needs with data obtained from satellites
operated by overseas agencies.

"Given the significant costs associated with space activities, international
collaboration allows Australia to share costs, efforts and also risks," she

Labor science spokesman Kim Carr disagreed, saying there was "undoubtedly" a
place for space science in the national research effort. "This is not just
about pure research; it's about how we deepen collaborative opportunities
between Australia's great research agencies and our creative manufacturing,
aerospace, electronics and software industries," he said.

Senator Carr claimed the Howard Government had neglected the potential of
space research and collaboration and had refused to support a national space
office or program.

Professor Cairns said that of the top 25 nations by GDP, only Australia and
Mexico had not launched a space program.

Brett Biddington, of Cisco Systems' Global Defence and Space Group, agreed
with Ms Bishop that much of the space services Australia required could be
bought overseas. But he said that it was time to build instruments suited to
the nation's specific needs and take the first steps towards
Australian-built satellites and spacecraft.

"It's a means to an end of having a voice at the table in the new generation
of space regulation to be written over the next generation," said Mr
Biddington, a member of the NCSS steering committee. "We have responsibility
to do this in the new environment called space."

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