Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Internship Program

The internship program is a unique opportunity for people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent to gain experience and build networks within the South Australian defence and space industries.

Commencing in 2017, the 12-month program provides up to 60 days of paid work as a South Australian Government employee, connecting with a professional mentor to provide support throughout the experience.

Defence SA has now hosted four interns through the program, with past participants going on to forge careers in the defence and space industries.

If you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and are interested in a career with the defence or space industry, you can apply now for this exciting opportunity.

Applications are now closed. Sign up to our newsletter to be informed about the 2024 program.

To read the full criteria and further information about the program, see this document on the Defense SA website:

full program criteria

There are two ways to apply:

  1. Download the PDF application form and email it to DefenceSA.Enquiries@defencesa.com. You can download the PDF here:
    PDF application form
  2. Use the online application form on the Defence SA website

Bocconi University Internship Program

To assist in developing appropriate strategies for cultivating the space ecosystem, the South Australian Government (through the SASIC) and the Bocconi University (Milan, Italy) jointly sponsor an internship program.

This program involves a selected student from the Bocconi University participating in a three-month placement in South Australia. During the placement the student is required to research and analyse the international and local space sectors from a socioeconomic and political perspective, in particular as they relate to enriching the South Australian space economy.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this program is currently on hold.

To date seven reports have been produced under this program.

Prepared by: Gianluca Strada, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

This report focuses on the downstream segment of the space economy, for example the exploitation of space technology as opposed to the provision of space technology.

The downstream segment represents the main driver for the future growth of the space economy, for which a significant expansion is expected in the years to come thanks to a new paradigm know as Space 2.0. The new space era sees constellations of smaller and lighter satellites, characterized by quicker and cheaper production, and improvements in accuracy and resolution of space-derived data, making space accessible to an increasingly larger number of users and opening the way to a plethora of commercial applications that were not economically viable or even possible before.

Nonetheless, there is still a lack of understanding of the benefits of these applications from potential users. Filling this gap represents a great opportunity for the Australian space economy and for South Australian businesses to increase their productivity in the future. The report also includes the analysis of a sample of the main South Australian private companies currently active in the downstream segment.

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Prepared by: Ester Lazzari, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

This report scopes the current level of space sector activity in South Australia and its growth potential. In pursuit of this objective, an attempt has been made to measure the size of the local space workforce, its growth rate and its contributions to the Australian space sector. The results of this analysis show that the space workforce, that is the number of people employed in space-related jobs, is of the order of 800 employees, meaning that by national standards South Australia is characterized by an above average per capita space sector workforce (see Chapter 2). Contributing to this result is the fact that the region can rely on various enabling factors, such as a leading university system and strong State Government support.

The performance of South Australia is remarkable, especially considering the fact the South Australian space sector is rather young and that the majority of companies are very small in size. On the other hand, the high proportion of young businesses and enterprises may in part explain the high level of innovation and creativity of the industry. The steep increase in business formation provides some evidence that the market for space related products and services has not yet reached a saturation point, and there are many more opportunities for new businesses to come.

The relatively large number of SMEs lead to the importance of assessing their implications in the space sector. For this purpose, a comparison is done with the case of Germany, which economy is also characterized by a very large proportion of SMEs. From this comparison, it emerges that government support for encouraging small business growth and the establishment of a national space agency will be decisive inputs to drive further development in the space industry.

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Prepared by: Annalisa Piva, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi This report analyses the socio-economic benefits of establishing a dedicated National space agency in Australia. In pursuit this objective, the UK and Canadian experience is analysed, supportive of the argument that a National space agency is an unquestionable source of growth, an investment in the country’s future development, and a continuing driver of innovation.

In a sector that is undergoing increased global competition, Australia is an exciting hub of knowledge, innovative ideas, expertise and space-stakeholders ready to be pushed further to turn any opportunity into a success. The current performance of the space sector in Australia is comparable to the UK before the UK Space Agency was established. The longer experience of the Canadian Space Agency suggests a cluster of useful practices and facts to learn and take advantage from, both in terms of what is best practice and what errors should be avoided.

The establishment of an Australian Space Agency, sustained in an efficient and supportive way, would help Australia tap further into the multi-billion-dollar industry and maximize the space-driven socio-economic benefits, exploiting the opportunities open to it. The result will be – as UK and Canada show – a faster growing turnover and a consequent greater share of the global space economy, the generation of a significant number of jobs, and an ongoing modernization of Australian society.

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Prepared by: Simone Spinelli, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

This report provides insight into venture capital investments in the space industry for commercial activities in the so called NewSpace economy. Venture capital investments are considered crucial for the growth opportunities of new companies. They provide invaluable support during the early stages of establishment where it is difficult to receive funding from other private institutions or even the government. The principal obstacle to investment for start-ups is generally the elevated risk, which only venture capitalists (VCs) are able to bear.

Venture capitalists that invest in space companies are mostly concentrated in the US (particularly in California). One of the major non-US hubs at a country level is the United Kingdom, which hosts about one third of non-US VC firms. Among countries with an emerging space economy, China and India, which boast two of the most advanced space programs in the world, are also starting to open their doors to private investors.

VC activity has showed an interesting increase in commercial space investments in the last 15 years, especially in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) sector. This is due to the new trends that have completely changed the way of approaching space. The new nanosatellite technology making access to space more affordable – and new commercial application for satellites are emerging, such as big data analysis and Internet of Things (IoT).

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Prepared by: Giovanni Facchinetti, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

This paper discusses the economic trends in the small satellite industry, featuring a detailed list of 33 different companies that are directly involved in the small satellite frame, sorted into five different groups according to their business focus: Earth observation, communication, multi-purpose, launch and deployment.

Technological achievements have led to miniaturisation resulting in lower costs and reduced time for development and launch of satellites. Small satellites are now expected to take a significant portion of the projected space industry growth: in 2014, 141 nano/micro satellite were launched into orbit whereas more than 3,000 satellites are expected to be launched between 2016 and 2022. Of particular interest is the rapid adoption of the CubeSat standard of small satellite which is the first globally and academically recognised standard for small satellites with specific weight and volume requirements.

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Prepared by: Matteo Paone, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

Provides an in-depth analysis of industrial clusters in the aerospace sector, with a particular emphasis on those that exhibit a stronger focus on the space segment. Grounded on a solid theoretical framework constituted by a vast academic literature and the Porter’s Diamond model for the competitiveness analysis, this work examines the world’s leading examples of aerospace clusters with the purpose of identifying common best practice and the key success factors.

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Prepared by: Gabriele Lania, Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

Considers space and space-related activities, and is linked with a wider plan for the development of a Space Strategy in South Australia. Focusing on the South Australian space economy, the study uses internationally recognised categories and applies them against the Australian sector. It includes an overview of the world’s space industry, including structure, history, trends, opportunities and the key players and provides an insight into the world’s main space participants.

The ultimate purpose of this work is to highlight the successful space policies implemented by leading countries and which are now considered to be world’s best practice.

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