The final panel of the Chief of Air Force Symposium 2023 is focussed on the space domain, and ways of boosting our capabilities in space. It also explores what constitutes a competitive edge in space innovation. This panel is run as a conversation.

The scale of Government Investment in Australian space capabilities is significant. Defence Space Command is leading efforts to assure Australian civil and military access to capabilities in space and the Australian Space Agency seeks to triple both the number of space jobs in Australia and our market size within the next decade. 

A growing number of Australian companies, along with international companies conducting operations out of Australia are demonstrating daily the innovation needed to be successful in this new era of space.

The video below also contains the Chief of Air Force Symposium closing comments.

In this video, you will find the following speakers:


  • Moderator of Panel and Panel Speakers: 01:24 - 46:15
  • Q&A Session - All Panel Speakers: 46:15 - 59:33
  • Chief of Air Force Closing Comments: 1:00:58 - 1:08:13


An updated transcription as a PDF will be added to this page.


Dr Annie Handmer

Dr Anni Handmer is an Associate Lecturer for the University of Sydney's Faculty of Science u the School of History and Philosophy of Science. Dr Handmer is on the Advisory Council for the Space Industry of Australia, a member of the Space Generation Advisory Council 'Ethics and Human Rights in Space' Project Group, a member of the Space Law Council of Australia and New Zealand, and is a research assistant at Bond University.

Dr Handmer previously worked in product management, policy and innovation for HEO Robotics, an Australian space start up working in space-based imaging and on-orbit inspection.

A selfie taken of Dr Annie Handmer
Dr Annie Handmer

Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts

Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts is the inaugural Defence Space Commander. She joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1938 as a specialist in aerospace engineering at the Aircraft Research and Development Unit and has held more than 20 roles throughout her Air Force career.

In March 2016, AVM Roberts was appointed Head of Aerospace Systems Division, before coming the Head of Air Force Capability in 2018, responsible for imagining, designing and shaping the needs and future requirements of air and space power for the joint force. 

Formal portrait of Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts
Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts

Professor Tanya Monro

As Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Monro is head of Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and Capability Manager for Innovation, Science and Technology within the Australian Department of Defence. 

Professor Monro obtained her PhD in Physics in 1998 from the University of Sydney. Her research in the field of photonics focusses on sensing, lasers and new classes of optical fibres. Her previous roles include Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow at the University of South Australia, inaugural Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) from 2008 to 2014 and Director for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Bio Photonics (CNBP) at the University of Adelaide.

Formal portrait of Professor Tanya Monro
Professor Tanya Monro

Dr James Palmer

Dr James Palmer is the Chief Executive Officer and cofounder of Silentium Defence. Dr Palmer is an internationally recognised subject matter expert on Passive Radar signal processing and system development. 

Dr Palmer joined Defence Science and Technology Group in 2006 where he established and led the Passive Radar research program until November 2015 when he became the Specialist Scientific Advisor for Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

Portrait photo of Dr James Palmer
Dr James Palmer

Mr Matt Pearson

Mr Matt Pearson is a proven entrepreneur with business interests that span internet ventures, new mobility technologies and his work as co-founder of Fleet Space Technologies. His mission at Fleet is to create breakthrough tools for explorers of new worlds, including satellite-driven automated and non-invasive exploration for mineral and material deposits.

Matt was born in South Africa but settled in Sydney where he founded his first successful internet venture. Since then, he has become a major driver of Australia's emergence as a global centre of excellence in space and advanced aerospace technologies through his roles at Fleet, and as a pioneer in the emerging eVTOL sector through the creation of Airspeeder, the world's first racing series for electric flying racing cars.

Formal Portrait of Mr Matt Pearson
Mr Matt Pearson

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