Australia to look to the stars as national space agency announced

NASA NASA  Reuters                       Dwarf planet Ceres is seen in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in this concept image

NASA NASA Reuters Dwarf planet Ceres is seen in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in this concept image

The Turnbull Government will establish a national space agency to ensure the growth of Australia's domestic space industry.

The lack of a national coordination framework impacts on Australia's engagement with and capacity to respond to initiatives such as the Chinese-based International Space Weather Meridian Circle Program.

New Zealand founded its own a year ago, with the stated goal of regulating the space industry and encouraging its development.

In July, the government commissioned an expert committee, chaired by former CSIRO boss Megan Clark, to investigate Australia's space industry capabilities, with the possibility of a space agency a main element of its investigation.

Senator Cash's office said the feedback from a review into the industry had overwhelmingly showed the need for a national space agency.

Nearly 200 written submissions have been received by a reference group, the progress of which has been described as well advanced, while more than 400 people have been consulted across the country.

Labor announced on Monday morning that it would also create an Australian Space Science and Industry Agency if it wins the next election.

In August, the ACT and South Australian governments announced a joint bid for the establishment of such an agency. "Australia has the science, technology, infrastructure and skills to punch significantly above our weight in the global space industry", Senator Carr said.

"We are dependent on other countries who can choose their own national interest over and above ours", he said.

Under this agreement the agency could have its headquarters in Canberra and its operational base in South Australia, Fairfax reported.

According to the government, the global space sector - encompassing innovation, defence, and telecommunications - has been growing annually since the late 1990s at nearly 10 percent, driving revenue each year of US$323 billion.

The exciting news comes off the back of International Astronautical Congress which is in Adelaide this week.

Most developed nations already have space agencies.

About 3,500 delegates are expected at the conference, including the heads of all major space agencies and SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

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