We hosted a special meeting that was attended by members, partners and guests from neighbouring Rotary clubs. We were privileged to hear from the head of the newly-formed Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark. 

Dr Clark is a past Rotary Exchange student and she comes from a Rotary family. 

Dr Clark delivered a polished and professional presentation. Some of her key points of interest were:

  1. The agency aims to strengthen the connection that young people have with space and to work with partners and education providers to enable the future generation to contribute to the space economy in a wide range of careers.

  2. Australia has an increasing role to play in space-to-earth connections. It can be at the cutting-edge of new technologies, such as lasers for wireless optical communications. In addition, Australia’s geographic location and size, including our territory in Antarctica, makes us an attractive location for ground stations and providing communications for a full range of space systems.

  3. Space is crucial for communications in the 70% of our landmass not covered by mobile phones, as well as in our marine jurisdiction and airspace.

  4. Australia’s southern hemisphere location, the expanse of Australian land and low light contamination make this an ideal location for space debris tracking.

  5. GPS systems are critical for the Australian economy and our everyday lives. They are used by individuals on their smart phones, farmers reducing cost and waste, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service landing in remote areas, through to improving safety on construction and mining sites. As a nation we are entirely dependent on other countries for access to the six global navigation satellite systems that provide information for these services.

  6. The government is now investing $224.9 million to make reliable positioning data accurate to 10 centimetres available across every corner of Australia, our marine jurisdiction and our airspace. Areas with mobile coverage will have access to precise positioning data accurate to three centimetres.

  7. Australia will partner with NASA in projects that will see flights to the moon and Mars.

  8. They are working with Boeing to develop a space launch system.

  9. They are also involved in the Artemis program which will see the next landing on the moon by 2024.

Everyone regarded Dr Clark's presentation as a major highlight of our Rotary year.