As one of the few major developed nations left without a space agency, the Australian government has announced that it will take the plunge and establish a national space agency. The hope is that the move will allow Australia to take a slice out of the ever-growing space industry, and stimulate jobs and innovation at the same time.
Australia stands out as one of the only developed countries in the world without its own space agency, and as such is missing out on an industry thought to be worth around USD $334 billion globally. Details are a little thin on the ground so far, but it is expected that further details will emerge during this week’s 68th International Astronautical Congress taking place in Adelaide.
Currently, it is thought that the private aerospace sector in Australia employs around 11,500 people, generating roughly USD $3.1 billion, or approximately 0.6 to 0.9 percent of the existing world market. The plan so far is to double this capacity within the next five years. This is expected to generate thousands more jobs and stimulate this part of the economy further, as well as significantly reduce Australia’s reliance on other nations for the industry.
“A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry,” said Australia’s Industry Minister Michaelia Cash in a statement. Cash went on to say in a rather convoluted way that “the agency will be the anchor for our domestic coordination and the front door for our international engagement.”
This year saw Australia launch its own satellites from Cape Canaveral for the first time in 15 years. Despite only being around the size of a toaster, it is hoped that they will help spur on Australia’s entry into the global satellite industry, something that this latest statement is predicted to cement further.
There is expected to be a review on the announcement next year, after which other details about the project, such as where it will be located and the cost of the program, will be determined. It is expected that details on how it will be funded – and how much money the agency will get – will be included in the May budget.