The Bureau of Meteorology is set to open a space weather hub in Adelaide that will monitor events like solar flares, which can disrupt services like GPS for navigation as well as radio communications.
Earmarked to open in 2022, the hub is backed by the Australian and South Australian governments and will see the bureau’s space weather scientists, researchers and customer engagement specialists located alongside the Australian Space Agency, Microsoft Azure Space and other space, defence and commercial customers at Adelaide space precinct Lot Fourteen.
As part of the hub, the bureau will be adding four new positions to its Space Weather Service, bringing a total of 18 positions to the new hub in Adelaide.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the hub would ensure better preparedness for a space weather event.
“Australians are familiar with the bureau’s weather forecasts, but many would not be aware that it also plays a role in ensuring we are prepared for the effects of events that come from beyond the Earth’s atmosphere,” Minister Ley said.
“Events such as solar flares can disrupt services we’ve come to rely on in everyday life, including GPS for navigation and radio communications. They can also damage satellites and the electricity transmission network.
“The bureau monitors and forecasts space weather in much the same way it does weather here on Earth, and they provide important advice to industry, enabling them to reduce the risks of these impacts.”
Minister Ley said having the bureau’s space weather team located in this precinct would enable industry and other stakeholders such as Defence to be even more prepared to respond to space weather events, protect infrastructure, the community and participate and support the development of industry-specific plans.
Federal Finance Minister and Senator for South Australia Simon Birmingham said the bureau’s Space Weather Service would include a dedicated Space Weather Forecasting Centre, a customer engagement team and Space Weather Research team.
The Space Weather Hub will join other major space companies, departments and institutions already calling Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen home such as the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat CRC, the Space Discovery Centre, Microsoft Azure Space, the South Australian Space Industry Centre, Inovor Technologies and Myriota.
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