In 2011 the Space Policy Unit commissioned a study by Futron Corporation (Futron) to assess the relative sophistication, development, and efficacy of Australia as a user of space products and services. Futron developed a benchmarking model to evaluate Australia’s effectiveness as a space user in five distinct application areas relevant to the Australian Government, enterprise, and society. This performance was then compared to seven comparator nations selected due to their similarities with Australia in economic development, geopolitical heritage, or space investment.
The study addressed two overarching questions:
- how effective is Australia currently as a user of space?
- how can Australia improve as a space user relative to its peers?
The table below outlines the space application areas and the comparator nations selected.
|Earth Observation and Resource Management
|Natural Disaster Management
|Global Positioning System (GPS) Navigation
|Weather and Meteorology
The results of the study found that Australia is:
- first in one space application area (Global Navigation Satellite Systems)
- second in four space application areas (Natural Disaster Management; Earth Observation and Resources Management; Satellite Communications; Weather and Meteorology); and
- third in Coordination and Integration, which while not in the above matrix, took into account Australia’s overall space usage compared to comparator nations; suggesting that its policy remains somewhat hindered by the infant stage of Australia’s policy development.
These individual application area results aggregate an overall result: Australia is second in overall space usage effectiveness relative to its seven peers.
The report provides several conclusions:
- firstly, it outlines the areas where Australia is currently optimising its usage of space products and services. It also highlights areas where Australia needs improvement, and the means by which this can be achieved
- secondly, it suggests that the Australian Government, despite moving in the right direction, can still play a larger role in defining national strategies for Australian use of space products and services
- finally is highlights that there is also significant opportunity for Australia to learn valuable lessons from the comparator nations, especially Canada.
The executive summary can be viewed at the link below.