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Remarks By Secretary Wilbur Ross at the Australia Space Agency Meeting in Canberra, Australia


Thank you for hosting us today at this beautiful observatory to discuss how our two nations are cooperating in space, the final frontier. It was my pleasure to be with Prime Minister Morrison last month in Washington during his State visit to the United States. 

I was extremely pleased to sign a Joint Statement of Intent with the Prime Minister at NASA headquarters to accelerate our return to the Moon by 2024, and establish a permanent colony on Mars. The United States and Australia have a 60-year partnership in space exploration and discovery. The Joint Statement of Intent we signed a few weeks ago establishes a basis by which we can work together to develop space technologies and build the infrastructure required for space travel and exploration. It is an exciting time for us to enter into such an agreement.

The global space industry is undergoing a major transformation toward private-sector initiatives. Thanks to technology, innovation, and — most importantly — to the vitality of a new generation of entrepreneurs, space has become a global growth industry. In this environment, there are new roles for governments to promote innovation occurring within industry and to remove regulatory barriers that are outdated and impede progress. 

In the United States, there are truly astounding projects underway, using revolutionary technologies and commercial practices that have never been applied to the space industry. We are also looking forward to your participation in the International Astronautical Congress in Washington later this month. If needed, we can work with you to set up meetings between your delegation and U.S. government officials and American companies. With an increasing number of industry plans in place to launch thousands of mass-produced satellites, an important role for our governments is to work together to ensure coordination, reduce space congestion, and minimize the risk of space debris.

Companies from both inside and outside the space community are developing new sensors, analytical tools, AI, and cloud computing that provide new solutions to these problems. My Department is working to develop an Open Architecture Data Repository for space debris information. This repository will soon allow operators to provide conjunction notifications to the commercial space industry in the United States and throughout the world. It will incorporate private-sector technologies that track space debris and will provide operators with the means to avoid collisions. This data repository will facilitate new commercial space services, and will include participation by commercial organizations from our allies.

I have been looking forward to this visit since signing the agreement with Prime Minister Morrison, and I am excited to discuss how we can work together. Thank you, again, for hosting us today.