The Government’s pumping money into our very own space agency… but is it enough?
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It’s about time, people. Space is booming! 2017 saw 310 space launches - more than double the previous year - when the global space industry was thought to be worth some $415b Australian dollars. Of that, the Australian industry accounts for less than 1% - or just under $4b dollars.
Now the Government wants to speed things up, announcing the creation of an Australian Space agency. $41 million dollars was pledged in last week’s budget to see the project kickstarted by July, headed up former CSIRO boss Megan Clark.
Astrophysicist Alan Duffy says it’s something the local space industry’s been working towards for decades.
“The Australian Space Agency isn’t going to be a NASA or a European Space Agency – it’s not about sending people to the moon, it’s about creating jobs for those people here on Earth.”
Thanks to billionaires like Elon Musk (and SpaceX) – the cost of getting to space is dropping fast – from some $20 thousand USD per kilo to just over $300 USD. Plus, the development of smartphone-like nanosatellites have broadened just what we can do – everything from improving GPS, to communications, even agriculture.
“Australia occupies a unique position,” says Duffy, “We have the entire southern night sky, we are a key part of the communications effort across the solar system in terms of the deep space facilities here in Australia. And we also want to start to then benefit from that.”
But in a $400bn industry, the funding is still kinda chump change. Will we really be able to create a ‘whole new industry’?!