Australia could be developing its own space agency, following the announcement of a Federal Government review into the feasibility of Australia’s space capabilities.
The nation has depending on other nations for space research and the agency would help it develop research, communications and exploration efforts with other developed nations including New Zealand.
Australia is one of just two OECD nations without a space agency.
“This is really about how do we set the scene for developing a space industry in Australia,” Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos.
“In that context, what role changed governance arrangements could play, including possibly the role of a space agency.
“This is really a way to bring the whole issue to a head.”
The review will be guided by a panel of experts, chaired by former CSIRO head Dr Megan Clark.
The panel will report by March next year.
It will meet for the first time next week.
Space industry revenue globally is currently more than $420 billion a year, with the sector growing by about 10 per cent each year since the late 1990s.
The country had already had significant involvement in national and international space activities, but a new space agency would develop a cohesive space program and a stronger platform for international collaboration.
Delta-V Space Alliance’s Dr Tim Parsons told Sky News he is excited about the timing.
“I’m very excited about the vote of confidence in the industry,” he said.
“It’s been estimated in Canada for example, each dollar that their space station spends, generates between seven and 11 dollars.”
The Australian space agency’s main role would help keep jobs as well as $3 billion of spending in Australia.
However, it could oversee the launch of satellites in the future with increasing dependence on them for communication and navigation.
It would also help Australia take advantage of satellite technology.
“There are lots of ways we do work in the space sector already, this is about building on those opportunities,” Senator Sinodinos said.
“We want to have industry here that can command a premium because they’ve got a competitive advantage.
Picture Courtesy: NASA