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3 mins read 07 Jun 2021

Space Data Facility opens access to future innovators

The Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF) in Western Australia opened in late May allowing budding innovators and small businesses free access to the latest satellite data sets, tools and training to develop new business opportunities.

Computer-generated image of NovaSAR-1 in orbit over Australia. CSIRO purchased a 10 percent share of time on new satellite NovaSAR-1 providing Australia with direct access to one of the world’s most sophisticated satellites for Earth observation data. Source: SSTL

The Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF) in Western Australia opened in late May giving open access to satellite data sets as well as providing training and tools to analyse the data. The centre is aimed at small businesses to gain valuable access to infrastructure, datasets, tools and training at no cost, to nurture innovative new business applications. 

The facility is a partnership between Pawsey Supercomputer Centre with the Western Australia Data Science Innovation Hub (WADSIH). 

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said that the uses for satellite data were almost limitless, but the costs associated with accessing and analysing big data sets were a barrier to small businesses entering the space sector.

“The potential uses for this data are diverse and extremely important for our everyday lives, including helping farmers increase crop yields and manage drought, to mapping supply chains and freight movements, or improving management of environmental impacts in forestry and mining,” Minister Porter said.

“Through the data analysis facility, we are opening the door for small businesses to enter the market, with the goal of stimulating innovation and accelerating commercialisation of new products and services.”

Small business innovation

Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said space data and Earth observation analysis have historically been a specialised application in the private sector. 

“Putting the right space data, tools and capabilities in the hands of business has the potential to drive down costs, increase productivity, create new value and grow the economy,” Mr Palermo said.

Pawsey’s Executive Director, Mark Stickells said SMEs should consider whether data captured from space could be useful in developing new markets or products or enhancing existing operations.

“The use of space data and Earth-observation technologies is growing every day,” Mark said.

“There is significant opportunity for business to use this data, whether it is looking at human land use, physical changes in the landscape, soil moisture or atmospheric conditions.

ASDAF is already showing its support within the innovation space by becoming sponsors of the Gravity Challenge, a global technology innovation challenge to use space technologies such as space data to help solve real-world challenges here on Earth. 

ASDAF funding

The Facility is funded through the Australian Government's \$19.5 million dollar Space Infrastructure Fund, with \$1.5 million awarded to Western Australia’s Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in mid-2020 to establish the centre.

The ASDAF is also supported by the Western Australian Government, through a \$750,000 commitment to grow the state’s space industry.

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre itself is a collaboration between CSIRO, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and The University of Western Australia.

Register your interest with ASDAF