Advance Space Town Hall: Securing Australia’s global role in the industry’s future

On the 23 November 2021, we held the Space Town Hall.  Watch our Highlights Reel below and to read a full summary of the discussions here. For the full video, please go to the bottom of this page.

What is Australia doing to advance its place in the global space sector?

The global space economy is estimated to be worth more than USD423 billion per annum. How does Australia play a significant role in this futuristic, rapidly expanding sector?

We are bringing together a global panel of experts to address the following questions and other topics:

  • How reliant are our everyday lives on the space sector?
  • What are the threats to national security?
  • How is Australia’s unique location a positive compared to some already large established centres for this sector.
  • Why is the Government pushing for growth in this sector?
  • What is “Space Law” and how do we ensure that we consider ethics and sustainability?


Jane Duke

Jane Duke is an experienced senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), appointed Australian Consul-General Los Angeles in August 2020. In this role, Ms Duke has responsibility for southern California, Alaska and south-western American states including Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and parts of Nevada. These states collectively account for approximately US$7 billion in two-way trade with Australia, and include important partnerships across the defence and space industries. More about Jane Duke here.

Dr Chris Boshuizen

Chris is a Partner at the venture capital firm DCVC, which specialises in deep tech and data-driven science and engineering companies. In October 2021, Chris fulfilled his lifelong dream of space travel, on board the Blue Origin New Shepard flight with three other passengers, including Star Trek legend, William Shatner.  Chris became the third Australian to fly into space, securing his title as a space pioneer after two decades in the field. Chris is a Board member for, winner of the Advanced Manufacturing Award for the Advance Awards in 2014, and winner of the Advance Global Australian of the Year in 2014. More about Dr Chris Boshuizen here.

Adam Gilmour

Adam is the CEO and Founder of Gilmour Space Technologies, a venture-funded rocket company in Queensland, Australia that is developing a new breed of hybrid launch vehicles for small satellite/payload customers. A lifelong space fan, Adam believes that rockets can be made smaller, cheaper, faster, and that the New Space industry would benefit greatly from having more dedicated access to space. Adam is the winner of the Advanced Manufacturing Award for the Advance Awards in 2019. More about Adam Gilmour here.

Dr Cassandra Steer

Dr. Cassandra Steer is a Senior Lecturer at the ANU College of Law and Mission Specialist with the Institute for Space. She has published widely on space security and space law, including the application of the law of armed conflict and use of force in outer space. Dr Steer has been a consultant to the Australian, Canadian and US Departments of Defence, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on space law issues. Dr. Steer is a member of the Australian Space Agency’s Technical Advisory Group for Space Situational Awareness, an Associate Expert on the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations, and a member of the International Institute of Space Law. More about Dr Cassandra Steer here.

Phil Ridley

Phil Ridley is the CEO of Quasar Satellite Technologies, revolutionising satellite to ground station communications. Phil combines extensive startup experience with large organisation technology design and leadership skills. Phil has an Honours degree in Computer Engineering and qualifications in Electronics and Business Management. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia, a Chartered Professional Engineer, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and several international patents. He is listed in the CIO50 in 2019, and a winner of multiple national Engineering Excellence awards including the prestigious Bradfield Award for Engineering Excellence. More about Phil Ridley here.

Anthony Murfett

Anthony Murfett is Deputy Head of the Australian Space Agency. Anthony has oversight of strategy, policy and day-to-day operations and supports the Agency Head in monitoring the performance of the Agency. Dedicated to purpose, Anthony brings an entrepreneurial spirit to the Agency, valuing partnerships while drawing strength from diversity and pushing the boundaries of our knowledge. More about Anthony here.


Andrea Boyd

Andrea Boyd is the Deputy Lead of Astronaut Operations at the European Space Agency.  Having studied mechatronic engineering at the University of Adelaide, Ms Boyd is currently the only Australian in the world working on the International Space Station Flight Control Team. She is the Advance Awards Emerging Leader Winner for 2021. More about Andrea Boyd here.

Vienna Tran

Vienna Tran

Vienna is a space medicine researcher who has investigated the use of artificial gravity for the hip muscles of astronauts during a prolonged bed rest analogue. She holds a First-Class Honours degree from The University of Adelaide. She regularly gives public talks and write articles for on space health, industry and STEM. In particular, she enjoys engaging with visitors in her role at the Australian Space Discovery Centre. In 2022, Vienna will be working in regional South Australia as a medical doctor to further her skills in healthcare for Earth and space. More about Vienna here.

Prof Carolyn McGregor AM

Professor Carolyn McGregor AM is the Research Excellence Chair in Health Informatics and an alumni Canada Research Chair in Health Informatics based at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. She received her Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Science Honours (1st class) degree, and her PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of Technology, Sydney. Dr McGregor has led pioneering research in Big Data analytics, real-time stream processing, temporal data mining and AI, patient journey modelling and cloud computing. She now progresses this research within the context of critical care medicine, mental health, astronaut health and military and civilian tactical training. Professor McGregor was awarded the Advance Global Australian Award for Technology Innovation in September 2015. More about Prof Carolyn McGregor AM here.

Annie Handmer

Annie Handmer is in her final PhD year, tracing the social history of Australian space science projects in order to better understand international and interdisciplinary cooperation, the social construction of achievement, and the nature of the military-industrial-academic complex in Australian space science. In addition, Annie is on the Advisory Council for the Space Industry Association of Australia and a member of the Space Generation Advisory Council ‘Ethics and Human Rights in Space’ Project Group. She is also a member of the Space Law Council of Australia and New Zealand, program consultant to the Australian Youth Aerospace Association ASTRA Committee, the host and creator of the ‘Space Junk Podcast’, and the host of SpaceWatch Global’s ‘Space Café Australia’. Read more about Annie Handmer here.

Richard Price

Richard Price was appointed Defence SA Chief Executive in October 2017. In this role, he was simultaneously appointed to the position of Chief Executive of the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC). Richard has worked within the defence and public safety sectors for over 25 years and has international industry experience in leadership, business development and engineering. Richard is an engineering graduate of the University of Wales (BSc Hons, 1985) and a graduate of the Melbourne Business School Advanced Management Program (2006) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2010). Richard is a Governor of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, and the Chair of Autism SA. More about Richard Price here.

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