Earlier this month I had the opportunity to represent Minister Husic at the official opening of the upgrade to the University of Tasmania's Greenhill Observatory, in my electorate, alongside Mr Enrico Palermo, Head of the Australian Space Agency, and Professor Rufus Black, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania. The Australian government, through the Australian Space Agency, supported the upgrade of the University of Tasmania spacecraft tracking and communication facilities with a $1.2 million grant under the Space Infrastructure Fund. I'm very proud that my electorate is host to what is one of Australia's most advanced space-tracking facilities. Tasmania's southern latitudes, clear skies, low population density and proximity to Antarctica have enabled Tasmanian researchers to become leaders in radioastronomy, space tracking and space-human life sciences.
Tasmania has globally recognised expertise in space domain awareness, spacecraft tracking and communications, and it's only getting busier up there. Last year there were 180 rocket launches into orbit—44 more than in 2021. SpaceX's Starlink network alone has more than 3,300 operation satellites. Since 2020 it has had to recalibrate trajectories 26,000 times to prevent collisions with other objects. It's just that sort of communication required that the University of Tasmania's Greenhill Observatory will be part of. The upgrade allows it to communicate with satellites to do that sort of recalibration. The advancement of this critical infrastructure will expand Tasmania's space research and commercial opportunities and boost the way Tasmania collaborates across industry research and government and internationally.
Space technologies can play an important role in growing our economy and developing skills and technologies that help Australians every day. This is just the type of innovation and technological advancement in industry that will be supported by the National Reconstruction Fund. The NRF will assist Australian industry, particularly in the regions, to seize new growth opportunities by providing finance for projects that add value, improve productivity and support transformation. It'll drive investment in key areas of the economy, value-adding resources in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, transport, medical science, renewables, low-emission technologies, defence and other enabling capabilities. I congratulate the University of Tasmania and the Australian Space Agency on the opening of the upgrade to the Greenhill Observatory. I look forward to seeing what other innovations and transformations will emerge from Tasmanian industry and Tasmanian tech with the support of the NRF. Live long and prosper!