As Australia prepares to create a space agency, Boeing and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will perform new joint research and development in space technologies.

The announcement, made at Boeing’s El Segundo, California, facility, home to the world’s largest satellite factory, signals a new phase in the Boeing-CSIRO relationship as both organisations focus on the opportunities presented by Australia’s fast-growing space industry.

“Boeing has worked with nations and companies around the world to explore the wonders of space since the very beginning of the space age,” said Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing Space and Missile Systems.

“Now with Australia on the cusp of its own exciting space age, Boeing couldn’t have a better Australian R&D partner than CSIRO to work with on emerging space technologies.”

Scientists from the US and Australia will collaborate on areas which are focused on the developing needs of the Australian space market.

The joint research will explore opportunities for space infrastructure and ground-based space facilities in Australia that could be beneficial for a range of space-related activities.

Other possible areas of space-related research include the development of novel materials, sensors and software for data analytics.

CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall said: “CSIRO has a 75-year history of working in space, and while our scientists have achieved significant breakthroughs, there is still so much to know. 

Extending our relationship with Boeing into the realm of ‘new space’ will help Australia and the world expand horizons, as well as monitor and better manage our own planet.”

Boeing is an industry leader in space: from the first Mercury capsule, to the current International Space Station, and beyond to the Starliner and Space Launch System, Boeing has and will take humans and technology farther than they’ve ever been while the company-built satellites help the world connect and communicate, including the Wideband Global SATCOM which supports the Australian Defence Force.

CSIRO, Australia’s premier scientific research agency, has a long and successful history in the space sector: from tracking spacecraft as they explore our Solar System, which started with NASA’s Mariner 2 spacecraft in 1962, Earth observation analytics and managing complex facilities to processing big data and supporting manufacturing supply chains.

Boeing and CSIRO began working together in 1989; over that time, there have been numerous technology breakthroughs.

Projects have included advanced aerospace technologies such as new manufacturing processes, coatings, fire retardants, and software for data analytics.

CSIRO has twice been named a Boeing Supplier of the Year, most recently in 2017.

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