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NASA: Australia co-operation re-affirmed and extended.

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    Warren Entsch, MP       Parliamentary Secretary to the

Minister for Industry, Science and Resources    

26 October 2000          00/490 

NASA - AUSTRALIA CO-OPERATION RE-AFFIRMED AND EXTENDED  The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Warren Entsch today announced an agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United States of America on Space Vehicle Tracking and Communication Facilities had entered into force. 

The Agreement amends and extends a 1980 agreement providing for the establishment, operation and maintenance of facilities in Australia operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 

These facilities comprise the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex located at Tidbinbilla in the Australian Capital Territory and a tracking and data relay satellite ranging system facility at Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. 

Mr Entsch said the renewal of the Treaty was a significant achievement for both the Australian and American Governments and re-affirms the Commonwealth's commitment to strengthening Australia's space related knowledge and skills 

"As one of the three complexes in the world that comprise the Deep Space Network, the Tidbinbilla facility is vital for the provision of communications for the guidance and control of spacecraft and the relay of data and images," Mr Entsch said. 

The network also performs radio astronomy, radar and radio

science experiments to improve knowledge of the solar system and the universe. 

It provides information to assist in selecting landing sites for NASA space missions, determining the composition of the atmospheres and the surfaces of planets, studying the star formation process, and imaging and investigation of asteroids and comets. 

"The Agreement facilitates the transfer of technical and scientific knowledge and skills between the two countries," Mr Entsch said.  

"In the coming decade, Australian scientists can benefit from hundreds of hours of antenna time for use in radioastronomy experiments. 

"I understand that NASA is seeking to increase the involvement of highly skilled technical workforces at its overseas facilities, including those in Australia, in systems engineering design and development work. 

"NASA has spent in excess of $470million on space-related activities in Australia, and this opportunity to capture further work would generate additional revenue, significantly enhance scientific and technical capabilities, and provide possible spin-offs to Australian industry. 

"The agreement reaffirms Australia's long-standing relationship with the United States on space tracking and communications." 

Contact: Greg Doolan, Office of The Hon Warren Entsch: 02 6277 4656

             Miriam Baltuck, NASA Canberra Office:  02 6281 8500

             Peter Morris, Industry, Science and Resources: 02 6213 6490


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