Advancing Australia’s Space and Spatial Capability

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the space and spatial industries,” were Eva Rodriguez Rodriguez’s opening words to a sold-out panel session of the advancing Australia’s space and spatial capability. The panel session formed part of RMIT University’s Engaging for Impact event and was held on Tuesday 19 February.

FrontierSI facilitated a conversation between Victoria’s Lead Scientist, Amanda Caples, Prof. Michelle Gee, Julia Mitchell and Matt Langley. The expert panellists engaged in an interactive conversation answering questions from the audience around the current and future state of the space and spatial sectors in Australia.

We opened the discussion by highlighting how space represents a huge opportunity for Australia, to leverage, grow and catapult our local industry into the global space arena.

“Australia has a skilled, leading and mature spatial sector,” Eva said, “It could deeply capitalise and grow downstream space applications, but we have some work to do. The 2026Agenda identified the need to provide Australia with a fully integrated upstream and downstream national space and spatial capability,” she said.

“This is crucial to ensure continued and sustainable access to critical national infrastructure, including global positioning systems and satellite earth observation data. The creation of the Australian Space Agency and the proposal of unprecedented research efforts such as the SmartSatCRC bid are all contributing in the right direction.”

The panel conversation quickly showcased the breadth that the space sector covers, and the influence it can have across all society. From data that can serve us on the ground — in mining, agriculture, transport or health — to how we acquire that data, discussing the pros and cons of CubeSats, high altitude platforms and UAVs, the concerns around protecting IP in international collaboration projects, to the needs of better space policy.

Our other resident “Space-pert” Julia Mitchell said that she enjoyed being a part of the panel.
“It was a really enjoyable experience; talking to the other panellists and the audience, hearing their views about the space and spatial sectors in Australia,” Julia said. “It’s great to see we have so many industry specialists keen to ensure the space and spatial sectors continue to work together and recognise the importance of both sectors.”

But the final word goes to our facilitator, Eva: “The panel was excellent, extremely well balanced in terms of areas of expertise around government, research, education and the private sector. The panellists were ready to answer every question – no matter the topic! – and the audience were very engaged… we could have continued the conversation for hours.”