Australia Is Finally Getting A Space Agency

Image: CSIRO

It's happening - finally. In the midst of the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, the Federal Government has announced plans to establish an Australian space agency - with Acting science minister Michaelia Cash calling the move "crucial".

Back in July the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science announced a review of the country's space industry capability, led by an Expert Review Group and chaired by former CSIRO chief executive Dr Megan Clark.

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More details about an Australian space, science and industry agency will be revealed today, according to ABC.

"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," Cash said.

"The agency will be the anchor for our domestic coordination and the front door for our international engagement."

The decision comes after the review group led by Dr Clark showed an overwhelming need for a local space agency.

CEO and co-founder of Australian nanosatellite startup Fleet, Flavia Tata Nardini, is also a member of the review board.

"The next industrial revolution is going to be driven from space, and so to future-proof Australia's economic prosperity, we have to be a part of that movement today." Nardini said when the review was first announced.

Nardini points out that Australia is "amazing" at space research, but our commercial application of the sector needs work.

"Australia's role in space must be on our national agenda if we are to truly capitalise on the opportunities it presents," Nardini says. "The sector is quickly growing and will become a key part of any nation with a successful innovation agenda in the coming decade."

Nardini says a strategy that enables better international collaboration must be an outcome of the review, and more support for space-led innovation (satellites, rockets, or deep space exploration) is needed. Nardini believes the best way for us to achieve these things is through an Australian Space Agency.

Now just what that agency will look like exactly - collaboration with international space agencies is something we already do - remains to be seen.

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