Uni of Adelaide ready to deliver leading space expertise

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The University of Adelaide has welcomed the announcement of a new national space agency, and looks forward to contributing strongly to this important sector, including through world-leading expertise in engineering, computation, photonics, combustion and space law.

Adelaide Law School is quickly gaining a reputation as the leading institution in the field of space law, which is a complex and mostly untested area.

Interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mike Brooks, says the University’s work in the ground-breaking field of space law builds on the University’s long track record in space technology through engineering and physics.

"Space industries aren’t just about rockets, space-stations, telecommunications, and military spy technology,” Professor Brooks said.

“As we plan to change the way we use space, including space tourism, or bases on the Moon or Mars, we are presented with a wide range of legal issues.

“Our law school is leading an international effort with McGill University (Canada) and Exeter University (UK) to draft a Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space.

“South Australia is also remarkably well placed to play a key role in the practical delivery of the new space agency’s agenda, thanks to the unique facilities at Woomera, in the state’s far-north.

“Our legal experts have recently published a major study on uses of Woomera for non-military testing, addressing the complex regulatory regime that governs use of the Woomera Prohibited Area and adjacent zones.

“We stand ready to help the Australian and State Governments in delivering the technical expertise necessary to build Australia’s space industry."

The University of Adelaide has had a long and proud involvement in Australia’s space industry, dating back more than 50 years.

University of Adelaide physics researchers worked with Australia’s Weapons Research Establishment to design, build and launch Australia’s first satellite, WRESAT, and earlier this year a University of Adelaide-built miniaturised satellite was launched by NASA, one of three Australian ‘CubeSats’ and the first Australian satellites launched in 15 years.

Australia’s first astronaut, Dr Andy Thomas, AO, is a proud alumni of this institution, having graduated from the University of Adelaide with a degree and PhD in mechanical engineering.

‘We are very proud of our distinguished alumni who continue to make their mark in the global space industry,” Professor Brooks said.

“Today we continue to produce highly talented graduates and postgraduates in aerospace and other engineering as well as generating leading-edge research in areas from aeronautics and high-pressure combustion through to new developments in space law.”

NOTE: A sold-out public lecture, Making our place in space: opportunities for Australia’s space future, featuring Dr Andy Thomas, AO, and three other University alumni involved in the space industry will be livestreamed on the University’s Facebook site at www.facebook.com/uniofadelaide on Wednesday 27 September, 5.30-6.30 pm.


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