By George Booth
After a series of ongoing developments and growing momentum, the federal government has announced Australia will create its own space agency.
The government intends to tap into the $420 billion and growing space industry, with Australia’s own space agency expected to generate thousands of new jobs for the country.
South Australia has shown its ongoing support to develop Australia’s involvement in the space sector before the prospect of the nation’s own space agency was known.
The South Australian Government recently announced the creation of a South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) to capitalise on this booming industry.
The state government said SASIC will create jobs and help develop local space businesses, providing $1 million in grants to grow the space industry in SA.
South Australian NASA astronaut, Dr Andrew Thomas, has long urged Australia to play a leading role in the aeronautical industry, and is pleased with the latest announcement to develop an Australian space agency.
Dr Thomas said South Australia has potential to be a strong competitor in the space industry, and said the announcement of SASIC is an “important step in the right direction”.
“[The space centre] drives innovation … new employment, new jobs,” he said.
Dr Thomas acknowledged South Australia is undergoing transitions and must continue to look toward the future by developing space infrastructure and becoming involved with Australia’s space agency.
South Australia will be in the international spotlight this week as the 68th International Astronautical Congress commenced in Adelaide yesterday.
Space agencies and companies from around the world will be there to showcase their latest technological advancements and innovation in the space sector.
Among them, NASA and SpaceX.
The federal government will discuss the details of its plans for Australia’s space agency at the conference in Adelaide.
South Australia was one of two states to first show its support for a national space agency, the other being the ACT.
Premier Jay Weatherill said he wants South Australia to play a significant role in Australia’s new space agency.
Mr Weatherill told the ABC South Australia should be asked to become involved with Australia’s growing space industry after recently building 12 submarines for the French military, saying SA is “ready and willing” to do so.
SA senator Simon Birmingham says the state’s “unique” geography positions SA well to benefit from Australia’s space industry.
Mr Weatherill hopes the creation of SASIC is proof of the serious extent of the state’s commitment to partner with the Commonwealth in developing Australia’s space agency.
The finer details for the nation’s space agency will be figured out by early next year, with funding to be outlined in next year’s Federal Budget.
Image source: AAP