Sky's the limit for space technology

Three of the world largest space technology companies are expanding operations in Australia and on the hunt for capable local suppliers.

Lockheed Martin, Airbus and Northrop Grumman are working with ICN offices across South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland to ensure local businesses are aware of opportunities in space technology.

The projects include such things as satellite communications, ground control stations, maritime surveillance and control systems.

Northrop Grumman is a global provider and integrator of autonomous, C4ISR, cyber, logistics and strike systems and solutions. It is working with the Australian Defence Force to ensure border and Pacific-region security and joint operations mission success.

The company has listed a $7bn pre-tender space systems project on Gateway to support the Commonwealth’s 2020 Force Structure Plan, which outlines Australia’s approach for investing and developing space capabilities. The plan includes:

  • developing sovereign-controlled satellites and ground control stations
  • enhancing space domain awareness to enable better tracking and identification of space objects and threats
  • developing capabilities to counter emerging space threats to Australia’s free use of the space domain, ensuring our continued access to space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
  • a rolling upgrade program to assure position, navigation and timing information in a contested environment
  • developing sovereign space-based imagery capability to enhance coverage of the Indo-Pacific region.

According to ICN NSW consultant Dusko Bajic, Northrop Grumman is committed to working with government to develop the highly skilled workforce required to build a sustainable, sovereign industrial base.

“Northrop Grumman will continue to assist small business and medium-size enterprises to deliver innovative capabilities and technologies to a global market,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin Australia is taking a ‘whole of business’ portfolio approach to potential Australian industry companies. The company is offering a longer-term pipeline for potential partners to deliver world-class Australian capabilities and demonstrate value-for-money.

Lockheed Martin is developing a range of projects such as:

  • satellite communications
  • ground-based space situational awareness
  • design, development and manufacture of satellite busses and payloads of various sizes and capabilities
  • space communications ground stations and control systems.

The company has currently listed a number of opportunities on Gateway and, according to ICN NSW Executive Director Ian Hudson, will continue to use the ICN Gateway portal to manage registrations of interest for the foreseeable future.

Airbus Australia Pacific is also using Gateway to call for expressions of interest from Australian companies. Airbus is particularly keen to hear from manufacturing, electrical, infrastructure, software, payload or professional services companies who might be able to develop capabilities in the space related technology areas of:

  • satellite control centre station integration and operation
  • mission payload control station integration and operation
  • ground station electronic subsystems manufacture
  • spacecraft bus panel and machine parts fabrication and harness manufacturing
  • hosted space surveillance and optical payloads design, development, manufacture and support
  • subsystem test and evaluation
  • software development, adaptation and integration
  • ground terminal design, development, manufacture and support
  • signal processing and analysis.


ICN SA consultant Merrill Kirk said this this may lead to one-on-one discussions with Airbus to identify specific local workshare opportunities in the pursuit, delivery and support of space related opportunities.

Businesses who want to keep up to date with emerging opportunities in space technology need to ensure their Gateway profile is up to date, and register for information on the Lockheed Martin, Airbus and Northrop Grumman’s Gateway portals.