The Hon. Peter McGauran, MP

Minister for Science and Technology

Thursday 10 July 236/97


Australia is on target to have its own satellite design and construction industry up and running by the turn of the century, following a $20 million dollar Commonwealth grant to establish a centre for small satellites.

The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Satellite Systems is the last of 17 successful bids to receive funding under the Federal Government's 1996/97 round of the Cooperative Research Centre Program grants.

Announcing the allocation today, Federal Science and Technology Minister, Peter McGauran, said the new CRC would help to revitalise Australia's space efforts.

"It will also ensure that by the turn of the century, we can design, build and market space systems for our own and international use", Mr McGauran said.

"The first project to be undertaken by the CRC is to build and launch a small satellite to carry out scientific experiments, communication and engineering tests starting in the year 2001.

"The microsatellite, FedSat-1, will be one of the most important scientific and cultural events on the Centenary of Federation event calendar. At the beginning of the new millennium, the FedSat project will prove Australia is not only gifted in the sporting arena, but is also a technologically confident nation," Mr McGauran said.

Chairman of the new CRC, former Commonwealth Minister for Communication, Tony Staley, said the project would generate a new spirit of national confidence and encourage young Australians to set their sights on the stars.

The budget for the Centre totals $56 million over seven years, including contributions from research and industry participants.

The CRC headquarters will be based at the CSIRO Office of Space Science and Applications, in Canberra, with laboratories at the University of South Australia and Queensland University of Technology.

FedSat-1 will be assembled by Auspace and VIPAC Scientists and Engineers Pty Ltd in Canberra and Adelaide. The launch vehicle and launch site are yet to be decided.


Carmel Christensen on 03 96500 377 or 0419 996766
Dr Brian Embleton (CSIRO) 06 2167230 or 06 281 7362 (after hours).


Participants in the CRC include the CSIRO, University of South Australia, La Trobe University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Newcastle, Auspace Limited, VIPAC Scientists and Engineers Pty Ltd, University of Technology Sydney, Curtin University of Technology, the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, the ARIES Consortium, MITEC Pty Ltd, D-Space Ltd and Optus.

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