Space and Radio Science News and Opportunities—March 2020

Space and Radio Science News and Opportunities

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If you would like to list your event or opportunity, or otherwise contribute to the next edition of the Space and Radio Science newsletter, please send content to Contributions will be published subject to approval by the National Committee for Space and Radio Science.

18 MARCH 2020

Strategic plan for Australian space science

The National Committee for Space and Radio Science is managing the development of the next decadal/strategic plan for space science. This will be informed by the activities of 11 working groups and extensive community consultation. Details are available at, including the opportunity to contribute to consultation.

Australia's future in space - a strategic plan for space science

Space-related researcher survey

Are you active in a field related to space science? We are seeking input from those studying, employed in or otherwise contributing to the Australian space science community via the survey below.

This survey will close on Monday 23 March 2020. Information provided is confidential and will not be used to identify individual respondents. Survey results will contribute to a demographic study as part of the strategic plan for Australian space science, and the data derived from this survey may be reproduced in the final document. The survey comprises a small number of multiple choice and open-ended questions and should take about 10 minutes to complete. Your response is greatly appreciated.

Complete the survey

NSSA Women in Space Chapter (WiSC)

Following is a special announcement from Dr Lucyna Kedziora-Chudczer, Secretary of the Women in Space Chapter (WiSC).

The NSSA Women in Space Chapter was formed in 2018 to promote and encourage gender equality and diversity representation in the Australian space sector. Specific goals of WiSC are to:

  • raise the profile of women involved with the Australian space sector at all levels in academia, industry, education, government, advocacy and not-for-profit organisations
  • collect and maintain up-to-date statistics on the status of women in the Australian space sector
  • provide information to the Australian Space Agency and other government and private organisations, about the status, activities and needs of women involved with the Australian space sector
  • facilitate exchange of information among women in the Australian space sector
  • liaise with other international bodies representing the status of women in space and contribute to the organisation of relevant international meetings
  • ensure that the needs of women in the Australian space sector are known, considered and represented.

WiSC, which now has more than 70 members, has its own website and a presence on the most popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Slack and Twitter, where the achievements of under-represented groups within the space sector are promoted, and the unique challenges which these groups encounter within their fields are discussed.

WiSC is currently considering proposals for workshops and mentorship initiatives. The principal focus of the chapter is gender equity matters, but discussion of broader matters of diversity and inclusion are also welcome.

The chapter is open to membership for all genders. Join WiSC 

For more information contact WiSC at

US Senate passes resolution recognising centenary of the AGU

On 19 December 2019, the US Senate passed Senate Resolution 460, congratulating and showing appreciation to the American Geophysical Union (AGU) on its centennial. The AGU was formed in 1919 as the representative for the United States to the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG). Today the AGU has over 60,000 members across 137 countries. The resolution notes that ‘Through reason and empiricism, science brings us closer to the truth’ . . . and that ‘research from the geophysical community has deeply informed our society on the need for responding to pressing challenges, chief among them climate change’.

Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP) news

Special issue on PRESTO (PREdictability of the variable Solar-Terrestrial cOupling)

The purpose of the SCOSTEP/PRESTO newsletter is to promote communication among scientists related to solar-terrestrial physics and the SCOSTEP’s PRESTO program. PRESTO is a science program, sponsored by SCOSTEP, that seeks to improve the predictability of energy flow in the integrated Sun–Earth system on times scales from a few hours to centuries through promoting international collaborative efforts. The newsletter contains information on upcoming events, SCOSTEP/PRESTO news and other relevant updates. Read the special issue on PRESTO

Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SPAN)

The test transmission service which is part of trial of accurate positioning technology, SBAS (Satellite-Based Augmentation System), will be discontinued after 31 July 2020. The SBAS test-bed project, led by Geoscience Australia in partnership with New Zealand’s Land Information New Zealand and managed by FrontierSI, will be developed to become a fully operational system called the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SPAN), for Australia by 2023. An economic benefits analysis report by EY shows an expected value to Australia of $6.2 billion over 30 years, and $1.4 billion to New Zealand. The benefits are across a range of sectors including agriculture, resources, construction and road transport. More information on SBAS

There are currently 10 SBAS systems for satnav either in operation, active development or development definition, covering much of the globe. The SBAS Interoperability Working Group aims to ensure users experience seamless operation across these systems. Ionospheric corrections implemented by SBAS can also be used for ionospheric and space weather studies (e.g. Sunda et al., Space Weather, 13, 2015, doi:10.1002/2014SW001103.

New Zealand space radar and rocket launches

Tracking spacecraft and debris in low Earth orbit (LEO) is essential for space domain awareness and management. Ground-based sensors include optical systems and radars. A Silicon Valley startup company, LeoLabs, in partnership with the New Zealand Space Agency, has developed and commenced operation of its third space surveillance radar, based in the Central Otago highlands of New Zealand. Called the Kiwi Space Radar, the system is capable of tracking objects in LEO as small as 2 cm. The company’s first two radars, in Alaska and Texas, can track 1U cubesats. The company plans to have six radars operating by the early 2020s, including one near the equator.

LeoLabs has also developed a tracking tool, called the Space Regulatory and Sustainability Platform, jointly with the New Zealand Space Agency, to monitor satellites in LEO. See the Youtube clip

Rocket Lab is a US headquartered company which launches rockets from the North Island of New Zealand, with a manufacturing facility in Auckland. With 11 mission launches to date, New Zealand has become an important global launch site. The New Zealand launch complex is licensed to launch rockets every 72 hours for 30 years. A launch on 31 January for 2020 was a classified mission for the US National Reconnaissance Office. Future launches will include missions for NASA and the University of New South Wales Canberra.

Coming events

COVID-19: The following events are scheduled over the next five months and at the date of this email have not been cancelled or postponed. Due to the changing global situation, however, we strongly advise you to keep up-to-date with events by checking the respective websites.


Event: EGU General Assembly
Date: 3–8 May 2020
Location: Vienna, Austria


Event: 8th International HEPPA-SOLARIS 2020 Meeting
Date: 8–10 June 2020
Location: Bergen, Norway

Event: 33rd Conference on Mathematical Geophysics
Date: 22–26 June 2020
Location: Bergen, Norway

Event: AOGS 2020
Date: 22 June – 4 July 2020
Location: Seoul, South Korea


Event: SEDI 2020
Date: 6–10 July 2020
Location: Taipei, Taiwan

Event: SCAR 2020
Date: 31 July –11 August 2020
Location: Hobart, Australia


Event: COSPAR 2020
Date: 15–22 August 2020
Location: Sydney, Australia

Event: EMSEV 2020
Date: 24–28 August 2020
Location: Taoyuan, Taiwan

Event: URSI GASS 2020
Date: 29 August – 5 September 2020
Location: Rome, Italy

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