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The National Committee provides this regular emailed newsletter containing updates from international scientific unions and committees and news related to the local scientific community, relevant funding opportunities, conferences and awards.
The National Committee for Space and Radio Science (NCSRS) is currently seeking expressions of interest for new members to help champion the space and radio science community for a three-year appointment starting from early 2021.
The NCSRS is one of the 22 National Committees within the Australian Academy of Science, which exist to foster their disciplines in Australia, liaise with international scientific bodies, and advise the Academy’s Council on relevant matters. One of their more notable activities is to produce and oversee the implementation of a strategic plan for their scientific community in Australia. As mentioned in previous newsletter editions, the NCSRS has been focused on creating its upcoming plan, Australia’s Future in Space.
The NCSRS is open to expressions of interest from individuals in all institutions, specialisations and career stages within the space and radio science realm. Applications from female-identifying candidates and early- and mid-career researchers are strongly encouraged.
A successful member will:
Applications close 5pm AEDT Friday 26th February 2021. Self nominations are accepted.
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Public consultations for the National Committee for Space and Radio Science strategic plan, Australia’s Future in Space, began in early February. An article from Research Professional News gives an overview of the plan and discussions from a recent consultation event. The expert working group are currently consolidating the extensive feedback and will shortly release a full draft of the plan for public review. Further comments and feedback can be provided here.
Three Australian researchers received international recognition for their contributions to astronomy and space science at the awards ceremony of the 43rd Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Scientific Assembly.
Congratulations to Dr Ken McCracken (COSPAR Space Science Award), Dr Alex Held (COSPAR Harrie Massey Award), and Dr Danial Graham (Yakov Zeldovich Medal). The awards recognise, respectively, outstanding international contributions to space science, outstanding international contributions to the development of space research in which a leadership role is of particular importance, and excellence and achievement by a young scientist in the field of solar system space plasmas.
As part of their awards, Dr McCracken and Dr Held have each had a minor planet named in their honour. The full citations of all the winners can be found on the COSPAR website (PDF).
The 43rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly was hosted by Australia from 28 January to 4 February.
Originally planned for an in-person conference to be held in Sydney in August 2020, the meeting was postponed and reconfigured first as a combined in-person/on line event, then as a fully virtual meeting. In order to accommodate international time zones all sessions were run twice, preserving the original program but incorporating interactive Q&As.
Other new initiatives included a series of parallel activities such as a leadership forum, Lockheed Martin-sponsored workshops on challenging technology developments, and an online STEM component which will extend to include a program of face-to-face activities in association with National Science Week later this year.
Despite technical difficulties due to the short time frame to develop the virtual platform, over 2000 scientific presentations were made in 615 sessions. All scientific presentations at the Assembly are available for viewing and download via the conference app through to the end of 2021.
Curtin’s Space Science Technology Centre (SSTC) has been awarded funding from the Western Australian Government to support the university’s Binar Space Program. Funding will be used to employ engineers to support the scheduled launch of five Binar CubeSats to space in 2021–22. If all five launches are successful, they will be Australia’s first home grown constellation of satellites in space.
An article from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) discusses the impact of the opportunity taken by South Australian space industry to support NASA’s Artemis mission, the Seven Sisters Project. The article reflects on the evolution of the space industry in Australia, shifting conversations around Australia’s sovereign space capabilities and Australia’s ability to utilise space expertise to create opportunities for further development and exploration.
A satellite to be built at Lot Fourteen will become the first to be put into space by an Australian state government under a $6.5 million partnership. The South Australian state government is partnering with the South Australian space industry to send a locally manufactured small satellite into low Earth orbit. The mission will demonstrate why space is important to the South Australian community and how information from space can be used to improve our lives on Earth.
The Australian Space Agency is seeking responses to a survey on Australia's Implementation of the Guidelines for the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities. This will guide input for the upcoming Scientific and Technical Subcommittee meeting in April 2021 (within the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space). The survey closes on 26 February 2021.
The Scientific Committee On Solar Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP) has released a series of comic books that are designed to introduce several topics of solar-terrestrial physics to the public, particularly to young people. The series currently has nine books, each available in multiple languages and aimed at educating readers on a different topic. Topics include global warming, solar wind, cosmic rays, the ozone hole and more.
The Andy Thomas Space Foundation is hosting the 11th Australian Space Forum on Wednesday 31 March 2021 at the Adelaide Convention Centre in South Australia. The hybrid event with both in-person and virtual elements is supported by the Australian Space Agency, the South Australian Space Industry Centre and SmartSat CRC.
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