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Australia is forming its own space agency

The land down under is blasting off.
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Pr3t3nd3r via Getty Images

Australia is finally getting its own space agency. After months of talks, the federal government has decided it's time the land down under is on par with other developed nations -- including its neighbour New Zealand -- and has put $50 million aside to launch the program.

The government is expected to unveil its funding proposal at the federal budget on May 8, and it is likely former CSIRO boss Megan Clark will be announced as head of the agency for its first year. Of course, while $50 million is not an insignificant sum, launching a space agency is pretty expensive so the private sector will be expected to contribute the majority of funding -- a doable task considering the economic boost the program is likely to deliver.

Speaking to CNET, director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research at the University of NSW Andrew Dempster said he was confident that "they should be able to do something useful with the money", and suggested the program could facilitate the development of startups, too. However, he cautioned that "what we need is technical people who sit in the agency and are proactive and not reactive."

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