The Federal Government has launched construction of the second phase of the Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre (AITC) at Mount Stromlo. The Technology Centre will support Australia’s contribution to the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) which will be built in Chile.


This facility will also provide a national hub for Australia's space industry, connecting firms to the Giant Magellan project and other research collaborations. The Las Campanas Observatory in Chile was selected for its high altitude, dry climate, dark skies, and unsurpassed seeing quality, as well as its access to the southern sky. The 24.4 meter telescope will be built two and half kilometres up a mountain in Chile. The technology to construct and operate this telescope has yet to be developed.


Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr said the government is providing more than $88 million for the project and the Centre.


"In order to build it, we will marshal the skills of researchers in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions. Harvard, The Smithsonian, The Carnegie Institute and The Australian National University. In partnership with industry, they will develop tools and skills which lie today in the realm of science fiction," Senator Carr said.


The tools being developed at Stromlo will provide images of space ten times sharper than the Hubble Telescope. The AITC will also centralise all the necessary facilities to develop and test small satellites for remote sensing and telecommunications.


The Federal Government will also create a new national hub for the country's space community, connecting firms to researchers and aerospace projects across the globe. Some of those firms will work directly on the Giant Magellan project, such as Aerospace Concepts which will design the systems engineering management framework.  In total, the project will directly create up to two hundred and forty Australian jobs.