Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Adelaide, Australia (4E) – Australia has finally decided to establish its own national space agency patterned after NASA 50 years after becoming the sixth country in the world to orbit a satellite (in 1967) after the Soviet Union, the United States, Canada, Italy and France.
Australia’s plan to make space its final frontier was revealed at the ongoing 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 being held in Adelaide until Sept. 29.
No name has been announced for the Aussie NASA nor any other details revealed. The main driving force for the new Aussie space agency, however, seems to be commercial and not scientific.
The Australian government pointed out that the worldwide space industry has been growing annually since the late 1990s at almost 10 percent. Annual industry revenues have hit US$323 billion annually and Australia wants a slice of that delicious pie.
“The global space industry is growing rapidly and it’s crucial that Australia is part of this growth,” said acting science minister Michaelia Cash.
“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.”
Australia’s space industry has been described as a grassroots movement across a small number of companies, university groups and the defense sector.
Australian space experts believe a national space agency will help bring to the forefront all the great work that has been going on in Australia in the space sector. It will also allow Australia to play a key role in the international space scene in the future.
Australia’s first satellite, WRESAT (Weapons Research Establishment Satellite), was launched on Nov. 29, 1967 on a modified American Redstone rocket from the Woomera Test Range in South Australia.
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