|Formed||1 July 2018|
|Headquarters||Adelaide, South Australia|
|Annual budget||$9.8 million (2019/2020) |
|Parent department||Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources|
The Australian Space Agency is Australia's national agency responsible for the development of Australia's commercial space industry, coordinating domestic activities, identifying opportunities and facilitating international space engagement that include Australian stakeholders.
The Agency has six primary responsibilities:
In keeping with the above responsibilities, it is different from other established space programs in that it exists to promote private development and businesses rather than state space operations (contrasting with NASA and the European Space Agency).
As of 2008, Australia was the only OECD country without a space agency other than Iceland, with the preceding National Space Program and Australian Space Office (ASO) having been disbanded by the federal government in 1996. A government report from the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Economics noted that Australia was "missing out on opportunities" and recommended that an agency immediately be developed.
In 2009, the Space Policy Unit funded the Australian Space Research Program over three years.
On 16 September 2016, Andrea Boyd, an Australian working at the International Space Station in Cologne, delivered a stirring address at the GAP Summit in Parliament House, Sydney, urging Australia to grasp the commercial opportunities of the new space market and protect its national sovereignty by establishing a national space agency. In response, Australian policy institute Global Access Partners created a taskforce including Andrea Boyd, former astronauts Dr Andy Thomas AO and Prof Gregory Chamitoff, as well as Australian and international scientists, entrepreneurs, innovators, financial analysts and legal experts. The taskforce, co-funded by the federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, advocated the creation of a commercially focused Australian space agency and delivered its report to the Australian Government in August 2017.
On 25 September 2017, at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Senator Simon Birmingham announced that the Australian Government would be launching a national space agency following an expert reference group investigation led by Dr. Megan Clark, former chief executive of CSIRO.
As part of the Australian Government's 2018 budget announcement, A$26m in seed funding over four years from 2018 was included to establish the Australian Space Agency, with a further A$15m for international space investment starting from 2019.
The budget was criticised for being inadequate by private Australian space companies including Delta-V and Gilmour Space Technologies, and space archaeologist Alice Gorman noted that low-budget attempts at starting an Australian space agency have failed in the past.
On 14 May 2018, Senator Michaelia Cash officially announced the launch of the Australian Space Agency, identifying 1 July 2018 as the commencement date of the agency. It will be located with the Industry Department in Canberra, and Dr. Megan Clark will be the inaugural Head of the agency for at least the first year.
On 12 December 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison officially announced that Adelaide would become home to the Australian Space Agency. It would be located at Lot Fourteen, the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital in 2019. The offices were officially opened on 19 February 2020. The Agency is planning to "triple the size of the Australian space industry and create 20,000 new jobs by 2030".
|Dr. Megan Clark AC||15 May 2018||Incumbent|