The Aukus deal will boost collaboration between the United States and Australia in space, says Australian space agency chief Enrico Palermo.
Palermo spoke on a panel with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, who also discussed Australia’s role in the upcoming manned mission to the moon, known as Artemis.
Palermo said Australia signed the Artemis Accords – a guide to principles of space exploration signed by Australia, the United States and other countries – was a sign of their commitment to “the rules and regulations that seek to ensure the safety, stability and sustainability of outer space.”
“I must also note that the Aukus discussion is one more indication of the increasing depth of collaboration … between our two nations and the UK,” he said. “And we expect this momentum to continue with even greater trade and collaboration across the space industry in the near future.”
The role of space in Aukus was initially overlooked, as the announcement about the end of Australia’s submarine agreement with France in favor of nuclear-powered submarines took precedence.
Shortly after the announcement by Aukus, the Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, I mentioned it briefly.
“We and our partners have agreed to deepen cooperation in areas such as equitable vaccine distribution, economic recovery from Covid-19, low-emission technology, investment in infrastructure, critical technologies, education, cybersecurity, space and the fight against disinformation, “he wrote.
Space is a critical part of any future military action because satellites are necessary for communication, navigation, and weapons guidance. It is feared that nations like China or Russia could target these satellites in any escalation of hostilities, leaving countries like Australia “deaf, dumb and blind.”
TO joint declaration issued after the September Ausmin meeting noted that the US and Australia recognized the importance of shared capabilities and a common understanding of space-related threats.
There are plans for combined satellite activities and a space framework agreement to expand cooperation in “civil research, exploration and peaceful use of space.”
According to Malcom Davis, defense analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, China poses a threat to US, UK and Australian satellites. “The threat of hostile and aggressive behavior in orbit is real,” he wrote, and will be critical to the three space powers.
“China already deploys direct ascent, anti-satellite ‘hard kill’ or ASAT weapons … putting the entire range of critical space support from the US, UK and Australia at risk in a crisis,” he wrote.
“Hard death” ASATs physically destroy satellites. Davis cautions that China and Russia have also demonstrated “soft kill” attacks that disable or deny access to satellites.
Mastery of space is critical to a war that is “precise, decisive and swift, reduces the cost of lost lives and minimizes the possibility of failure,” Davis wrote.
Reducing the chance of a successful counterspace campaign and denying China and Russia the ability to deliver a decisive ‘Pearl Harbor in space’ is probably the most important goal for Aukus. Such an attack would quickly wipe out any knowledge advantage and dramatically increase the risk of swift defeat, leaving the three states effectively ‘deaf, dumb and blind’ in crisis. “
Nelson spoke about Australia’s longstanding alliance in wars and in space, dating back to when The plate it was part of the Apollo missions.
He referred to Australia’s role in the 1969 moon landing and promised that NASA was preparing to announce more details about Australia’s role in the Artemis mission.
“We have partnered with the Australian space agency to identify a possible collaboration on the Moon. Because we go back to the moon. We were there before. But this time, it is to stay and learn and prepare to go to Mars.
“We have identified an opportunity that will allow Australia’s experience to align with NASA’s exploration capabilities. And it will be a great partnership. “
When asked to explain more details, Palermo said: “Stay tuned.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism