UK and Australia Collaborate on World First Space Bridge

February 24, 2021 Updated: February 26, 2021

Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) space agencies have strengthened their ties further by signing the worlds first “Space Bridge” arrangement to increase connection, exchange, and investment.

Minister for Industry, Science, and Technology Karen Andrews said the arrangement the two countries signed in Canberra and London on Feb. 23 will connect Australian and UK expertise in the space industry and showcase the strength of Australia’s space sector.

“Australia’s space industry is innovative, globally competitive and growing at a rapid pace,” Andrews said in a media release.

“In addition to Australia’s strong manufacturing capabilities, our space priorities range from communications to Earth observation, as well as robotics and automation—all of which can offer support to the UK’s space ambitions.”

Both countries will also align their approaches to the space industry and adopt a whole government approach to space science and research, trade, and security.

The Space Bridge Framework Arrangement is the next step after the UK and Australia 2018 Memorandum of Understanding, which saw both countries promise to work together on building landing sites and working on policy coordination.

Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment Dan Tehan said the Space Bridge is a “huge step forward in enabling the transfer of Australian space-related capability and knowledge.”

“Through the Space Bridge, Austrade will help connect Australian businesses to opportunities in the space sector and promote Australia’s space industry internationally, increasing trade and attracting greater investment from around the world,” Tehan said.

Australian Space Agency
View of the Milky Way from Australia (By Australian Space Agency 2020)

“This world-first agreement between Australia and the UK will reduce barriers to cooperation, address market-entry barriers and help space programs get off the ground faster, helping both countries to develop pioneering space programs and technology,” he said.

Head of the UK Space Agency Graham Turnock echoed their sentiments, responding that the Space Bridge will help propel the Australian space industry to the next level.

“This will build relationships that will help both the UK and Australia maximise the vast economic and scientific potential that the space sector offers,” Turnock said.

“It will also help create better opportunities and greater security for people in both nations.”