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Australian Space Agency
Agency overview
Formed1 July 2018 (2018-07-01)
Preceding agencies
JurisdictionAustralia
HeadquartersAdelaide, South Australia
Annual budgetIncrease AU$17.1 million (FY2021/22)[1][2]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Parent departmentDepartment of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Websitespace.gov.au

The Australian Space Agency is an agency under the Australian Government responsible for the development of Australia's commercial space industry, coordinating domestic activities, identifying opportunities and facilitating international space engagement that include Australian stakeholders. Its headquarters are located in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia.

Responsibilities

The Agency has six primary responsibilities:[4]

  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.

The Australian Space Agency differentiates itself from other national space programs in its stated focus on private development and businesses rather than state driven operations (contrasting with NASA and the European Space Agency).[5]

History

As of 2008, Australia was the only OECD country without a space agency other than Iceland,[6] with the preceding National Space Program and Australian Space Office (ASO) having been disbanded by the federal government in 1996.[7] A government report from the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Economics noted that Australia was "missing out on opportunities" and recommended that an agency immediately be developed.[8]

In 2009, the Space Policy Unit funded the Australian Space Research Program over three years.[6]

On 16 September 2016, Andrea Boyd, an Australian working as a flight operations engineer for the International Space Station (ISS) in Cologne, Germany, delivered an address[9] at the Global Access Partners Summit[10] in Parliament House, Sydney, urging Australia to grasp the commercial opportunities of the new space market and protect its national sovereignty by establishing a national space agency. In response, Australian policy institute Global Access Partners created a taskforce including Andrea Boyd, former astronauts Dr Andy Thomas AO and Prof Gregory Chamitoff, as well as Australian and international scientists, entrepreneurs, innovators, financial analysts and legal experts. The taskforce was chaired by Dr Jason Held, founder of Saber Astronautics. The taskforce, co-funded by the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, advocated the creation of a commercially focused Australian space agency and delivered its report to the Australian Government in August 2017.

On 25 September 2017, at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Senator Simon Birmingham announced that the Australian Government would be launching a national space agency following an expert reference group investigation led by Dr. Megan Clark, former chief executive of CSIRO.[11]

As part of the Australian Government's 2018 budget announcement, AU$26 million in seed funding over four years from 2018 was included to establish the Australian Space Agency, with a further AU$15 million for international space investment starting from 2019.[12][13][14]

The budget was criticized for being inadequate by private Australian space companies including Delta-V and Gilmour Space Technologies,[15] and space archaeologist Alice Gorman noted that low-budget attempts at starting an Australian space agency have failed in the past.[16]

On 14 May 2018, Senator Michaelia Cash officially announced the launch of the Australian Space Agency, identifying 1 July 2018 as the commencement date of the agency. It will be located with the Industry Department in Canberra, and Dr. Megan Clark will be the inaugural Head of the agency for at least the first year.[17][18]

On 12 December 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison officially announced that Adelaide would become home to the Australian Space Agency. It would be located at Lot Fourteen, the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital in 2019.[19] The agency opened its office on 19 February 2020. It is working to triple the size of the Australian space industry and create 20,000 new jobs by 2030.[20]

On 13 October 2021, the Australian Government announced an agreement with NASA where Australian researchers and scientists will build a rover that will be sent to the moon by 2026.[21]

Head of Agency

Name
Term
began
Term
ended
Dr Megan Clark AC 15 May 2018 31 December 2020
Enrico Palermo 28 January 2021 Incumbent

See also

References

  1. ^ Reichert, Corinne (8 May 2018). "Budget 2018 Government confirms AU41m Space Agency". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019.
  2. ^ Liz Wakerly. "Industry support". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Australian Space Agency executive". Canberra: Department of Industry. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Australian Space Agency Charter" (PDF). Department of Industry, Innovation & Science. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  5. ^ Burgess, Katie (29 September 2018). "Not NASA: New Australian space agency more "nimble", "industry-focused"". The Canberra Times.
  6. ^ a b Dempster, Andrew (4 April 2013). "Ten reasons why Australia urgently needs a space agency". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Australian Space Office". globalsecurity.org. Global Security. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  8. ^ Lost in Space? Setting a new direction for Australia's space science and industry sector (Report). Commonwealth of Australia. 12 November 2008. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-642-71996-6.
  9. ^ Boyd, Andrea (23 September 2016). "Innovation in outer space and opportunities for Australia".
  10. ^ "A Vision for Australia - Spaces of Australian Innovation: GAP 7th Annual Economic Summit" (PDF). 15–16 September 2016.
  11. ^ Young, Matt; AAP (25 September 2017). "Australia commits to space agency". news.com.au. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  12. ^ Wicht, Anthony (8 May 2018). "Budget 2018: space agency details still scant – but GPS and satellite imagery funded". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  13. ^ Greene, Andrew (2 May 2018). "Budget 2018: "Seed funding" for Australian space agency to be unveiled". ABC News (Australia). Archived from the original on 9 October 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  14. ^ "2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements". Australian Government. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  15. ^ Sadler, Denham (8 May 2018). "Just AU$26 million for new space agency". Innovation Aus. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  16. ^ Dempster, Andrew; Gorman, Alice (29 March 2018). "What we're looking for in Australia's Space Agency: views from NSW and SA". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019.
  17. ^ Pearce, Rohan (14 May 2018). "Australian Space Agency to launch on 1 July, 2018". Computer World. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  18. ^ McIlroy, Tom (14 May 2018). "New government space agency to join Industry Department". The Australian Financial Review. Archived from the original on 19 June 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  19. ^ South Australia to become home to Australia's new space agency, ABC News, 12 December 2018, retrieved 12 December 2018
  20. ^ "Australian Space Agency opens in Adelaide". Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources of Australia. 19 February 2020. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  21. ^ Department of Industry, Science (13 October 2021). "Headed to the moon: the Trailblazer program and NASA space act agreement". Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. Retrieved 18 November 2021.