Australian space agency to employ thousands and tap $420 billion industry, Government says

Australia on Monday committed to creating a national space agency at the International Astronomical Congress in Adelaide, South Australia.

The announcement came at a week-long Adelaide space conference attended by the world’s top scientists and experts including SpaceX chief Elon Musk.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday the agency would be part of Australia’s development of an innovation and science economy. But the government has provided few specifics.

The move has come after mounting pressure from experts, who have been growing increasingly concerned that Australia was missing the boat taking a share in the AU$420 billion (US$330 billion) global industry.

Australia’s $420 billion aeronautical industry and create thousands of new jobs.

Acting Industry Minister Michaelia Cash said the sector was growing fast globally, and Australia needed to be a part of it.

“The global space industry is growing rapidly and it’s crucial that Australia is part of this growth,” acting science minister Michaelia Cash said in statement.

“A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry.”

The Federal Government will detail the long-term plans at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide,.

“A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry,” Michaelia Cash said.

“The agency will be the anchor for our domestic coordination and the front door for our international engagement.”

Astrophysicist Alan Duffy said he hoped the announcement would be a boon for the number of Australian jobs in space.

“We have longstanding ties with NASA, exploring space together and generating all of these jobs. And that’s the key point of both the Government’s and Labor’s plans, it is a jobs industry-first agency,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

NASA, ESA vow to work with Australian space agency

The heads of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have welcomed the announcement of an Australian space agency.

ESA director general Jan Woener even suggested Australia could go a step further and join the ESA as a cooperative member.

“I look forward to seeing what niche areas that Australia decides they want to focus on and I think that’ll be their challenge,” said Acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot.