WA Investments

WA space industries are taking off and ready for investment

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Western Australia’s space industries offer a range of attractive investment opportunities for those looking to capitalise on the growing market.

One of the primary reasons why WA’s space industries are proving to be an attractive investment option is due to the high demand for space-based services and technologies. The global space economy is forecast to double in size over the next decade, from $450 billion in 2020 to $1 trillion by 2030, according to predictions for multiple analysts including Citi and Morgan Stanley. This growth is being driven by a range of factors, including the increasing commercialisation of space, advances in technology and the demand for satellite-based services.

The WA space industry is particularly well-placed to benefit from this growth, with more than 100 Australian and international industry-leading companies operating in space and space-related industries. This includes the Australian Space Agency, along with several research institutions and five universities with established expertise in the space industry and related fields.

WA organisations have strong collaborative relationships with international space and defence companies and agencies including NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. These organisations have strong capabilities in astronomy, ground-based satellites and deep space communications, space situational awareness, data processing and analysis, and remote operations. Additionally, emerging capabilities and activities show great potential in optical communications, CubeSat design, manufacturing and operation, launch and the translation of space technologies into terrestrial sectors.

WA’s geographical advantages, technical expertise and significant space infrastructure across Perth and the regions – both for civil and defence applications – are the foundations of the State’s growing space industry.

The WA space industry is highly diversified and covers a range of sectors, from satellite communications and remote sensing to earth observation and big data analytics, which provides investors with a broad range of opportunities to explore. This has seen WA become a hotbed of innovation and investment, with several venture capital firms and entrepreneurs investing in the sector.

Both the Federal and State Government have invested heavily in space industries, with the Federal Government committing $7b to space capabilities over the next 10 years. The WA Government has launched the $100 million Investment Attraction and New Industries Fund (IANIF) (expressions of interest have closed), which aims to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in WA – including in space industries – and building global competitive advantages the create jobs and export market opportunities. As part of the ANIF, the New Industries Fund (NIF) is a $16.7m commitment over four years (2021-25) that supports the acceleration of new and emerging businesses in WA.

Projects that contribute to economic diversification, jobs and skills in regional areas may also be eligible for Regional Economic Development grants.

Remote operations and robotics

WA’s mining and resources industry has accelerated advancements in remote asset management, placing the space industry in a strong position to capitalise on the world-class technology. This has led WA to now being a world leader in remote operations with expertise in remote asset management, autonomous operations, robotics, artificial intelligence, remote sensing and systems integration. Perth is the headquarters or testing base for several world-leading organisations working in remote operations, robotics, and automation, meaning it is at the forefront of the latest research findings and technological advancements, providing an optimal landscape of investment opportunities.

Space communication and situational awareness

Environmental conditions of clear skies and large arid land areas with minimal radio interference make WA particularly well-placed for space communications and situational awareness. More than 3,000 active satellites area already in orbit around the world – this is an opportunity for WA. The State is positioned to have an active role in telecommunications advancements and connectivity as the private space sector develops and services such as space travel become the norm. A recent advancement in commercial communications satellite was the launch of the Inmarsat-6 (I-6) satellites – the first satellite was launched in December 2021 and the second in February 2023. WA has an important role to play in supporting the 1-6 F1 with two new ground station antennas at Perth and Merredin, which will provide coverage over the Indian Ocean.

Space exploration and manufacturing

The 30 Voices on 2030 – The future of space report by KPMG Australia predicted that by 2030 activities such as manufacturing and mining will be viable in space. In the near future, expect to see mines being operated remotely on the moon and there will be more exploration of the solar system. Driven by the appetite to have humans permanently residing on the Moon by 2030, there will be an increased focus on ensuring the ability to use water on the Moon for fuel and life.

Data analytics

The future of space report also identified space data as an avenue for growth and thus, investment potential. The value of data collected in space will continue to increase, as companies will find strong value in generating and selling actionable insights from data they collect and combine with other datasets. WA is well-positioned to capitalise on space data and computing opportunities, given its significant computing infrastructure and data science, analytics and cyber security capabilities.

Earth observation

An almost $1.2b National Space Mission for Earth Observation program is being led by the Australian Space Agency in partnership with the CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology and Department of Defence, to make Australia more self-sufficient with earth observation data. The program will also grow Australia’s space industry capability and jobs, which will set it up for future success.

The CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have also embarked on an initiative to support the growth and implementation of Earth observation-based products and services in South-East Asia. The Earth Observation for Climate Smart Innovation project will build on relationships between Earth observation companies in Australia and South-East Asia to strengthen regional science relations, increase climate change resilience, and promote sustainable growth and development.

Space industries have the potential to have major flow on benefits in other industries, such as mining, agriculture, science and sustainability, and even tourism – making it an attractive investment option for those looking to capitalise on a growing global market.

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