SGAC Australia

National Points of Contact
Crystal Forrester John Furness
Crystal Forrester
Mar 2012-Mar 2016
John Furness
Jun 2014-Jun 2016
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Australia has had a long history as a player in space, and despite perhaps a few too many sabbaticals and no space agency, we were the fourth nation to put a satellite in space and are one of the original members of COPUOS. Woomera Test Range was a major part of early rocket launches and is still active today. The major Australian universities offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses in space science and engineering and undertake cutting edge research and development. Since 2011, the International Space University has held the Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program jointly with the University of South Australia in Adelaide. Now is an exciting time for space in Australia! Following the 2008 Senate Space Inquiry, the Space Policy Unit (SPU) of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) was founded in 2009, making significant progress towards a whole-of-government space policy. 2010 saw the announcement and implementation of the SPU Australian Space Research Program (ASRP) Grants with over $34M awarded for education development and project grants. Australia’s Satellite Utilisation Policy was released in April 2013, and was Australia’s first ever space policy document.  A central government website for all things space in Australia can be found at There are now ever increasing opportunities, projects and educational programs for Australians to be involved in space on home soil.


Young Space Activities Overview in Australia 

There are many opportunities to participate in Australia’s emerging space future. Contact one of your NPoCs to discover where you could fit!

  • School: The Australian Youth Aerospace Forum (AYAF) is held annually for motivated students in Year 11 and 12. There are multiple other competitions and award opportunities for high school students, including the Australian Space Design Competition and the APRSAF Water Rocket Competition.

  • University: It is possible to join the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) or the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) student groups, participate in conferences, and become involved in various astronomy and space societies across the country. Particularly for those with engineering backgrounds, you can apply to attend the annual Australian Youth Aerospace Association (AYAA) Aerospace Futures student conference. Final year projects at university over recent years have included small satellites, experimental supersonic ramjets, rocket gliders and more. If your university does not offer a space project, and you have an idea, look for support, put together a team and propose your own project! There is the opportunity for undergraduate science/engineering space projects to be entered in the VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize, offering a NASA internship over the Australian winter.  University students (as well as industry professionals) have the opportunity to attend the ISU Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program, a five week interdisciplinary space course held over January and February in Adelaide.

  • Young professionals: Industry professionals meet up at various conferences and events during the year and with growing momentum in local space activities, there are many opportunities for motivated young people to become involved.

Every odd numbered year the spectacular Avalon Airshow is held in Victoria – so we are currently building up to another Airshow in early 2015. National societies and organisations always welcome new involvement and are very happy to be contacted by interested young people. Many public lectures, events, conferences, astronomy evenings and education programs are held nationwide throughout the year, and most are free to attend.


2014 Updates


Country-Specific Events in 2014

  • ISU SHS-SP, Adelaide (6 January - 7 February): The inaugural Southern Hemisphere Summer Space Program (SHS-SP) was launched in January 2011 by the University of South Australia (UniSA) in partnership with the International Space University (ISU). The SHS-SP is an intensive, five week, live-in experience during the southern hemisphere summer, involving the international, intercultural, and interdisciplinary educational philosophy for which ISU is renowned. There are also free public lectures and an International Astronaut Panel which run throughout the program.
  • Applications for IAF Emerging Space Leaders Grant Programme, International/Nationwide (5 February deadline): Full scholarships for selected students and young professionals to attend the IAC2014.
  • Yuri's Night, International/Nationwide (12 April): The World Space Party! Come and celebrate the anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first manned spaceflight on April 12, 1961, and the inaugural launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981. Parties are held all around the country (and the world) on this night.
  • International Space Apps Challenge International/Nationwide (12-13 April): An international collaborative project-based challenge run by NASA, with Australian events currently registered in Melbourne and the Gold Coast.  More than 50 technical challenges have been proposed to address space activities and the public engagement and distribution of knowledge and data from space missions.
  • Australian Youth Aerospace Forum (AYAF) – Melbourne, (April/May): A two day event providing senior high school students with an opportunity to investigate careers and pathways in the aerospace industry.  The program showcases various university and industry opportunities relevant to the aerospace industry in Australia.
  • Australian Space Design Competition, (16 June registration deadline):  A competition involving the design of space infrastructure, open to high school students.  Part of the International Space Settlement Design Competition, with international finals held at Johnson Space Center in Texas.
  • Australian Youth Aerospace Forum (AYAF) - Brisbane, (30June – 4 July): A five-day conference which provides senior high school students with the opportunity to investigate careers and pathways in the aerospace industry. The forum is designed to showcase the various university and industry opportunities available to students upon completion of secondary school.
  • Aerospace Futures Conference, Brisbane (7-9 July): Aerospace Futures is a three-day conference designed to expose over 150 university students to opportunities in the aerospace industry. During the conference, delegates will hear from a variety of industry representatives speaking on topics relevant to students who are interested in pursuing a career in aerospace. Applications open March 2014.
  • Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (CONASTA), Adelaide (6-9 July): CONASTA is the annual Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA).
  • National Engineering Week, Nationwide (August): An annual event to promote engineering in Australia.
  • National Science Week, Nationwide (16-24 August): An annual event facilitating a broad range of science related education and outreach activities.
  • International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2014, Toronto, Canada (29 September – 3 October): The IAC is one of the largest Space congresses/conferences; with an extensive paper presentation series, plenary lectures, special presentations, and an exhibition of space companies and organisations. The theme of the 2014 International Astronautical Congress is “Our World Needs Space”.
  • Australian Space Science Conference (ASSC), (late September/early October):  The ASSC is the primary annual meeting for Australian research relating to space science.
  • World Space Week, International/Nationwide, (4-10 October): An international event series showcasing the role of global space activities through education and outreach events.
  • APRSAF Water Rocket competition, (October) An annual International Competition where high school participants from many countries design and launch their own water rockets. An Australian competition is held annually and the national winners are invited to participate in the international competition at APRSAF-21.
  • AIAA Region VII-AU Student Conference, (November):  Final year undergraduate Australian University students who are undertaking an aerospace related final year project or thesis. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) sponsors student conferences in each AIAA Region as a means to encourage students in aerospace related fields to discuss research, exchange knowledge, and generate interest in the field of aerospace engineering.  The winning presentation receives a cash prize and a trip to an AIAA space conference in the USA.
  • Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum APRSAF-21, (2-5 December) Tokyo, Japan.
  • VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize (encompassing the EA Undergraduate Thesis Prize in Space Engineering), with applications for 2015 due late in 2014: Offering an Australian university student the opportunity to attend one of three 10 week NASA Academy programs, or participate in a NASA affiliated summer program, and work with a lead scientist or engineer on a current NASA project. The VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize is open to all Australian undergraduate students completing their final or honours year at an Australian University in 2014.
  • Engineers Australia Engineering Careers Expo, held in Perth (15 March), Sydney (18 March) and Melbourne (26 March).  High school and university students alike are invited to attend this free event, including displays from engineering organisations, companies and universities as well as presentations from range of engineering professionals and related organisations.
  • Young Astronauts Space Schools Australia, Nationwide:
  • Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC), (September/October): All students, industry professionals and interested public are invited to attend this conference, run by Mars Society Australia.
  • SGAC Move an Asteroid Competition, International/Nationwide: A design competition for developing new and innovative techniques for Near Earth Object deflection and warning.


Interesting Web Links for the Space Generation in Australia 


Australia and New Zealand Space Groups (A directory of space related groups and jobs in Australia and New Zealand)

Groups, People, Institutions

Research and Education Groups and Facilities


(The majority of these Bachelor degrees can be combined with a double degree in Arts/Law/Computer Science/Science/Commerce/Economics/Mathematics). Also note that nearly all universities below offer PhD studies in the related fields.

Australian National Territory

New South Wales


South Australia



Western Australia


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