First of Airbus Defence and Space’s Australian engineering interns head to UK for assignment to UK space missions

29 November 2022

First of Airbus Defence and Space’s Australian engineering interns head to UK for assignment to UK space missions


Canberra, 29 November 2022 — The first interns selected under Airbus Defence and Space’s new Airbus Space Internship program will shortly fly to the UK to begin assignment on live international space missions. Launched in July for 2023 placements, the internship program will be the first time that Australian engineering students have been offered the chance to hone their skills in the UK, helping to create the next generation of Australian space leaders.
The Airbus Space Internship program forms part of the UK-Australia Space Bridge Framework Arrangement, an arrangement to enhance cooperation and grow each country’s respective space industries. In Australia, this is supported by Austrade and the Australian Space Agency, as well as the UK Department for International Trade and the UK Space Agency.

Airbus is deeply involved in the Space Bridge arrangement and is committed to the transfer of technical expertise from the UK to Australia to help grow the Australian sovereign space industry. This comes at a time where the Airbus-led Team Maier bidding for the JP9102 milsatcom program also aims to build the capability of local Australian businesses to compete internationally in the global space sector.
The program will initially place three students in the Secure Comms organisation within Airbus Defence and Space Communications, Intelligence & Security (CIS) across its Portsmouth, Stevenage and Hawthorn sites in the UK—the home of the leading SKYNET 5 military satellite communications program. Students will be given an end-to-end satellite and spacecraft engineering experience, from payload design, manufacturing, and operation, across a range of missions, including military satcom, telecoms, and space exploration. The program will expand in subsequent years.

Martin Rowse, Director, Space – Australia, Airbus Defence and Space, said: “Space technology already touches every corner of modern society and Australia has an opportunity to be a leader in this emerging economy. While we have amazing tech and engineering talent in Australia, we can speed the development of future leaders up through giving them lived experience of missions. The Airbus Space Internship is therefore an essential program to transfer the knowledge required to build Australia’s sovereign space industry and we’re proud to be the first organisation selected by Austrade and the Australian Space Agency to offer this.”

Jennifer Mackinlay, General Manager for Europe, The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), said: “The UK and Australia share future ambitions for space. The UK-Australia Space Bridge, signed in 2021, was designed to strengthen the ties between our countries as well as grow the number of jobs and capability across our respective space industries.

“Australia’s space sector was valued at A$4.8 billion in 2019 and is forecast to grow to $12 billion by 2030, creating up to 20,000 new jobs. Space is a multidisciplinary domain and needs all sorts of skillsets and types of people. The Airbus Intern Program is a great example of practical bilateral collaboration supported by the Space Bridge. It addresses the industry’s needs in relation to future workforce, creating new career pathways into highly skilled jobs in emerging technology sectors,” Mackinlay added.

About Austrade
The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is the Australian Government’s international trade promotion and investment attraction agency. We generate market information and insights, promote Australian capability and investment opportunities, and facilitate connections through our extensive global network.


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