25 October 2011

Remote sensing discussion paper released

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Australian Space Policy Unit has released the briefing document “Priorities for Investment in Remote Sensing Technology for Australia”. The paper was prepared by Clive Fraser of the CRCSI.

There is a growing national consensus, reinforced by recent studies and the recently prepared Australian Strategic Plan for Earth Observation from Space, as well as the federal government’s new Principles for a National Space Industry Policy, that Australia has a strong dependency and reliance on foreign Earth Observation (EO) satellites, in particular for environmental and disaster monitoring, and that it wishes to grow its regional prominence and international participation in global remote sensing programs.

This gives rise to questions regarding investment priorities for the nation in EO satellite infrastructure and technologies. This paper initially looks at the background to Australia’s present complete dependence upon overseas owned and operated EO satellites, and then briefly summarizes relevant strategic objectives in EO. Three priority areas of investment, namely a hosted EO payload on a geostationary satellite, gaining membership in a satellite constellation consortium, and upgrading Australia’s ground segment infrastructure, are considered. These investment priorities are viewed on the one hand as potentially achievable, given anticipated resources, and on the other as enhancing the prospects for continuity of supply of EO imagery to the 100 or more known government programs, longterm research projects and commercial endeavours that rely on provision of medium- and high-resolution satellite imagery.

Read the paper below.

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