Australia’s New Space Agency in Adelaide
Australian Space Agency (ASA) was established in July 2018 following a government review on Australia’s space industry capability.
Its purpose is “to transform and grow a globally respected Australian space industry that will lift the broader economy and inspire and improve the lives of Australians underpinned by a strong international and national engagement.”
The space agency has a list of six fundamental roles, according to its charter:
1. Providing national policy and strategic advice on the civil space sector.
2. Coordinating Australia’s domestic civil space sector activities.
3. Supporting the growth of Australia’s space industry and the use of space across the broader economy.
4. Leading international civil space engagement.
5. Administering space activities legislation and delivering on our international obligations.
6. Inspiring the Australian community and the next generation of space entrepreneurs.
Funding for the space agency was allocated during the 2018-19 budget announcement with government funding of $41 million over the next four years with the aim of tripling Australia’s space economy to $12 billion and generate over 20,000 jobs by 2030.
Currently, the location of ASA is in Adelaide, specifically North Terrace where the old Royal Adelaide Hospital used to be. Former CSIRO Chief and current ASA Head Dr. Megan Clark and 20 initial staff are holding interim offices on the site while the ASA home is developed.
Alongside ASA, a Mission Control Centre and a Space Discovery Centre will also be built at a cost of $12 million.
According to the Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, the Mission Control Centre is where space missions in Australia will be centralized as facilities to control small satellite missions that offer real-time control and testing and to accelerate the development of Australian satellite technology.
The Space Discovery Centre will also cater to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for secondary students and mission simulation and training for tertiary students.
Why locate in Adelaide?
South Australia, Adelaide and space go a long way back. The year 1947 saw the establishment of the Woomera Rocket Range that eventually became a major missile testing site.
In the same year, captured Nazi rockets were brought to Adelaide for scientific analysis. In 1967, Australia became the third country in the world to launch its own satellite at Woomera.
For many years, Adelaide astronaut Andy Thomas has been leading talks and advocating for Australia to expand its role in space exploration, technology and tourism.
In 2017, it was Adelaide where the International Astronautical Congress was held. Besides, says Minister Karen Andrews:
“South Australia is already home to more than 60 organisations and 800 employees in the space sector and this decision builds on the very strong technology and defence presence in the state.”
You can read more about the Australian Space Agency at www.space.gov.au.
Jaclyn-Mae Floro, BCompSc
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Disclaimer. The material in this post represents general information only and should not be taken to be legal advice.