Will We Have our Own NASA?

Australians in space.

Well, we’ve waited for it, and now the ball is finally in motion.
The Australian government has announced today that they will be launching a review into Australia’s space capabilities.

Exciting news for all our budding aeronautic space engineers.

The news came from Science and Industry Minister Senator Arthur Sinodinos:

This is really about how do we set the scene for developing a space industry in Australia. And in that context, what role changed governance arrangements could play, including possibly the role of a space agency.

Currently, Australia is one of two OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries that have not got a space agency. New Zealand beat Australia to the punch by announcing their plans to begin building out their own space agency last year.

The review will be led by ex CSIRO boss Megan Clark, reporting next March. The review comes after the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAAA) called for a national space station. Currently, the Australian space industry is worth around four billion dollars, employing 10,000 people. The SIAA is hoping these numbers will double in size within five years with the right government support.

Andy Thomas, NASA astronaut, wrote to defence minister Christopher Pyne explaining how essential an Australia Space Agency would be for Australia’s national security. He believes South Australia would make the perfect headquarters for the potential site.

I am unashamedly pro-South Australia in this since it meshes and overlaps so well with local defence industries, especially undertakings such as the submarine build, we are missing out on a rich opportunity for innovation, employment and accessing potential export markets.

Thomas explains Australia needs to stake the lead if we ever want to be considered a “serious player” in the aeronautical space field.

We need a national agency that speaks for the country and with ministerial authority. Without that Australia is doomed to be forever dependent on other nations for its space-related security, its space-related economy, its space-related defence and its space-related environmental assessments.

For now, it’s time to play the waiting game, but an Australian Space program is long overdue.

Header: shutterstock

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