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Institute helps to propel Australia into space

20 March 2019

Australia has taken another important step in building its space capabilities with the establishment of a new research facility at the University of Southern Queensland.

The Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences in Toowoomba and Mount Kent Observatory will focus on hypersonic propulsion systems, advanced materials and astrophysics.

Opening the Institute in Toowoomba today, the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said it would complement the work of the Australian Space Agency.

“The Institute will help our space efforts by focusing on cutting edge technology and world class infrastructure,” Minister Andrews said.

“The University of Southern Queensland has been actively involved with the Australian Space Agency, keeping the Agency informed of its space program and working to support the growth of our space industry.

“The purpose of the Agency is to drive this kind of investment and research, as we push toward a goal of tripling the size of the sector to $12 billion a year and creating up to 20,000 new jobs.”

The University of Southern Queensland has an impressive space program, with its Mount Kent Observatory providing the only ground-based support in the southern hemisphere for NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. This is part of a ground-breaking program searching for exoplanets - planets circling nearby stars.

Apart from NASA, the university also has agreements with a range of international organisations, including the German and Japanese space agencies.

The Liberal National Government established the Australian Space Agency in July 2018 and is investing $53 million in its development as part of our plan to grow this sector, and create an additional 1.25 million jobs in the next five years.

Media contact: Minister Andrews' office 02 6277 7070