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Australia will establish its own space agency

It's part of a plan to take space development more seriously.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 25, 2017
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Reuters/Joe Skipper JLS

Australia is very much a participant in the space industry with about 11,500 people working in the field. However, it has never had its own space agency -- and that may put it at a disadvantage next to the US, Canada and other countries that have concerted space strategies. The government hopes to fix that. It just unveiled plans to create Australia's first national space agency. There aren't many details at this point (more are expected later in the week), but acting industry minister Hon. Michaelia Cash argues that it's necessary to keep pace with a space industry that's "growing rapidly."

You should see a charter for the space agency by the end of March 2018.

Like many nations, Australia probably won't have advanced launching pads and other facilities that you see in the likes of the US, Russia or China. If all goes well, though, this could foster space technology development and give future astronauts a flag to rally around. Australia-born astronauts like the since-retired Andy Thomas (above) became naturalized US citizens before going into orbit. Cash adds that the agency will be a "front door" for international space cooperation, so it could help Australia become a more visible presence in spaceflight than it is today.

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