Growing the Australian space sector

Over the past 75 years we've built strong capabilities in Earth observation, radio astronomy, space tracking and managing complex facilities.

But we do much more, like supporting supply chains through advanced manufacturing, managing big data and helping SMEs.

We also have an established network of national and international partnerships throughout the space sector.

Whatever your challenge, we're here to help secure your footprint in the space economy.

Supporting the Australian space sector



[Music plays and an image appears of a hexapod in the foreground and an antenna in the background and the CSIRO logo appears]


[Images flash through of the antenna, two males looking at computer screens, several views of the antenna, a male looking at a computer screen and a spinning world globe]


Dr Kimberley Clayfield: Space science is so important for understanding our place in the universe but also understanding how our earth works.


[Image changes to show Dr Kimberley Clayfield talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Kimberley Clayfield, Executive Manager, Space Sciences and Technology]


Without space technology we would have no GPS in our cars and our phones. We wouldn’t have satellite communications and we wouldn’t have the earth observation data that allows us to make, for example, accurate weather forecasts every day. 


[Images move through of the CSIRO Black Mountain Laboratories complex, a CSIRO magnet, an aerial view of banks of solar panels, a hexapod moving and then a robotically controlled small vehicle]


CSIRO is the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and we’re Australia’s largest research organisation.


[Images move through of banks of solar panels, an aerial view of antennas in the desert, a close-up view of the satellite dish and the antenna spinning]


CSIRO owns and operates all of the radio astronomy facilities on behalf of Australia.


[Image changes to show views of the antennas moving against a night sky]


These are collectively known as the Australia Telescope National Facility.


[Image changes to show Dr Kimberley Clayfield talking to the camera]


The ATNF offers astronomers a unique view of the Southern Hemisphere sky and it’s available for use by Australian and international astronomers worldwide.


[Images flash through of a street sign, antennas, a building, a sign on the side of a building, and more antennas in the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex]


CSIRO has a 50-year partnership with NASA, particularly with regard to the operation of the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex.


[Images move through of an antenna rotating and then the three different stations around the world and text appears: Canberra, Australia, Goldstone, USA, Madrid, Spain]


Dr Ed Kruzins: NASA’s Deep Space Network is a set of stations around the world at Goldstone, Canberra and Madrid.


[Image changes to show Dr Ed Kruzins talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Ed Kruzins, Director, Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex]


By coming together as a network, they are able to now look at the entire solar system and chart every robotic space mission around every planet in the solar system.


[Images move through of views of antennas]


Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex has three 34 metre antennas and one 70 metre antenna.


[The image changes to show Dr Ed Kruzins talking to the camera]


The 70-metre antenna is the largest antenna in the Southern Hemisphere.


[Images move through three males in front of a bank of computers and then the image changes to show Dr Ed Kruzins talking to the camera]


This place is extremely special to the people that work here.


[Image changes to show a male seated in front of a bank of computers and then the image changes to show a male looking up and then the image changes to show the computer screens again]


Their roles are so vital to make sure we carry the signals from Deep Space, we carry them safely, we carry them with consistency and we don’t drop a signal and they do this perfectly.


[The image changes to show Dr Ed Kruzins talking to the camera and then the image changes to show three males looking at a bank of computers and the camera zooms in on a computer screen]


They make history every day. The work we do here is playing a key part in the exploration of the solar system.


[Images move through of different planets in space, the Mars Rovers in operation, the surface of a planet, a grid type map and Cassini moving around the rings of Saturn]


The images we’re getting back from Pluto, the images we’ll get back from the Cassini End of Mission, the images that we get back from the Mars Rovers tell us something about what composes the solar system, about where earth and us sit in this big picture of the solar system.


[Images flash through of a space craft blasting off and then the image shows a satellite moving through the solar system and then around the earth]


Dr Kimberley Clayfield: Astronomy and space science give us two viewpoints for viewing and understanding our universe.


[Image changes to show Dr Kimberley Clayfield talking to the camera]


Looking up and out at the solar system and the universe but also looking down at earth from space.


[Image changes to show an earth observation satellite in operation and then the image changes to show various satellite maps]


The data we receive from earth observation satellites enables us to learn and manage things like weather and climate, environmental management, emergency response and resources management.


[Image changes to show a satellite in operation]


Dr Alex Held: We downlink the data from a number of satellites.


[Image changes to show Dr Alex Held talking to the camera and text appears: Dr Alex Held, Research Group Leader, Landscape Observation and Simulation Group]


Most of them are owned and operated by a number of other countries but we have access to about 120 satellites and about 250 sensors on these satellites.


[Image changes to show Dr Alex Held and a female working in an office on a laptop and the camera zooms in on the laptop and then on Dr Alex Held]


We manage about one petabyte of satellite data together with our colleagues from Geoscience Australia.


[Image changes to show Dr Alex Held talking to the camera and then images move through of an Australian map with a grid over it and then the camera zooms in on one square of the grid]


We’ve developed with them what we call the data cube technology which allows us to pre-process a lot of this data and organise it and clean it up very well so that researchers, but also government agencies can look at changes across the landscape for a single part of the country in terms of agricultural production, of flooding, or coastal change and things like that.


[Image changes to show Dr Alex Held working on the laptop and then the camera zooms out to show the female working with Dr Alex Held]


GEOGLAM stands for Global Earth Observation Agricultural Monitoring System.


[Camera zooms in on a map on the laptop screen and then the image changes to show Dr Alex Held talking to the camera]


GEOGLAM was called for by G20 about six years ago to use a lot more satellite data to monitor crop production worldwide.


[Image changes to show a map scrolling across the screen from the right to the left and then the image changes to show Dr Alex Held talking to the camera]


In Australia we said that we needed also to monitor livestock and beef production and therefore we’ve developed GEOGLAM RAPP.


[Image changes to show a spinning world globe and then the globe morphs into a map and soil moisture levels are shown on the map]


RAPP stands for Rangelands and Pasture Productivity. We’re helping create the necessary decision-making information and the tools to monitor how we’re managing remaining resource and lands that provide this protein and food.


[Images move through of close-up and then distance views of antennas, a bank of control boards and Dr Kimberley Clayfield talking to the camera]


Dr Kimberley Clayfield: The CSIRO has a very broad range of capabilities that can potentially be applied to space activities.


[Images flash through of a male working on a computer, different types of technologies and a hexapod]


They include advanced communications technologies, sensor technologies and robotics.


[Image changes to show people watching the hexapod in operation]


Ross Dungavell: A hexapod is literally something with six feet.


[The camera zooms in on the hexapod in operation]


What they do is they walk more gently over the earth than wheel or track robots do.


[Image changes to show a male watching the hexapod as it ducks down]


They’re also more agile so they can step over things, they can duck under things and turn themselves in circles without skidding.


[Image changes to show Ross Dungavell talking to the camera and text appears: Ross Dungavell, Robotics Software Engineer]


Hexapods can go where no man has gone, where no man should go and in the case of the smaller ones where no man will fit.


[Images move through of people watching the hexapod in operation, a close-up view of the hexapod, Ross Dungavell using the controls and the sensor on the top of the hexapod spinning around]


If you’re on a planetary body or something similar, a hexapod can walk over rock piles and up much, much steeper gradients and thus it can carry its sensor payloads to places that would otherwise be inaccessible.


[Image changes to show Ross Dungavell talking to the camera]


SLAM is Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping.


[Image changes to show an animation of a multicoloured screen]


It works similarly to how humans work out where they are and make a map in their mind of the room they’re in for example.


[Images move through of Ross Dungavell talking to the camera, the hexapod in front of a antenna and the sensor on the top of the hexapod spinning]


Robots for exploration are only useful when they’re carrying sensors, so cameras, laser scanners.


[Image changes to show an animation model of trees and the camera pans through the trees and text appears: Fly-through of 3D SLAM map generated by Max, Processed by CSIRO’s CT-SLAM system]


With our 3-D SLAM technology they know exactly where they’ve been, so they can provide you with a map of where they walk.


[Image changes to show Ross Dungavell talking to the camera]


They don’t rely on memory. They keep a log of everywhere they went.


[Images move through of the hexapod in operation]


The hexapods are a massive step forward in taking instruments to observe the universe in which we live.


[Images flash through of Dr Kimberley Clayfield talking, the hexapod, three males looking at computers, a soil moisture map, a moving satellite, antennaes, solar panels and views of antennaes]


Dr Kimberley Clayfield: CSIRO aims to harness its innovative culture, its technical capabilities, its international relationships to support the Australian space sector and to develop a powerful innovation pipeline for the Australian space industry.


[Music plays and CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s innovation catalyst]



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Earth observation and informatics

Satellite-derived data is critical for managing natural environments and supporting development opportunities. Tap into our Earth observation expertise, including data from the NovaSAR-1 satellite.

Advanced manufacturing and supply chains

Carbon fibre

Our patented carbon fibre manufacturing capability offers huge potential in the field of high value advanced manufacturing, including the development of next-generation materials.

3D printing

We provide Australian companies with access to metal additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies that promise high efficiency and productivity gains for a competitive advantage.

Printable solar cells

We're leading the way in the development of low cost, environmentally friendly production methods and flexible materials that could change how photovoltaic energy can be generated.

3D mobile mapping technology

We’ve developed a highly accurate 3D modelling and mapping capability ideal for use in difficult environments with no GPS coverage. It's portable, efficient, and offers automatic data processing.


Our world-leading robotics research group develops piloted and autonomous machines that are suited to dangerous, inaccessible and risky environments.


Trustworthy and resilient systems are essential in a digital, interconnected world. We're developing these systems and strengthening the human dimension of cybersecurity.

Big data

Our investment in high-performance computing infrastructure and expertise in handling big data allows us to develop insights and solutions to tackle Australia's biggest challenges and opportunities.

Space tracking and radio astronomy

Space tracking

For more than 50 years we've been working with NASA and other international space agencies at the forefront of exploring our Solar System. We're currently supporting more than 30 space missions.

Radio astronomy

We're a world leader in radio astronomy, managing complex facilities, developing new technologies for astronomy, and revealing the structure of the Universe.

CSIRO in space through the years

We have a long and successful history in the space sector from radio astronomy research, managing complex facilities and observing Earth from above to supporting data and manufacturing supply chains. Browse through our timeline.

Opportunities for SMEs

Inspiring a new generation

Meet our space sector leaders

Our latest news

#CSIROspace on Twitter

Do business with us

We partner with small and large companies, government and industry in Australia and around the world.

Get in touch