The Australian Space Agency is an agency under the Australian Government responsible for the development of Australia's commercial space industry, coordinating domestic activities, identifying opportunities and facilitating international space engagement that include Australian stakeholders. Its headquarters, opened in February 2020, are located in Lot Fourteen in Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. The Australian Space Discovery Centre, where space technology is exhibited and information sessions provided to the public, is on site.
|Formed||1 July 2018|
|Headquarters||McEwin Building, Lot Fourteen, Adelaide, South Australia|
|Annual budget||AU$17.1 million (FY2021/22)|
|Parent department||Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources|
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 as a flight operations engineer for the International Space Station (ISS) in Cologne, Germany, delivered an address at the Global Access Partners 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 was chaired by Dr Jason Held, founder of Saber Astronautics. 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 Megan Clark, former chief executive of CSIRO.
As part of the Australian Government's 2018 budget announcement, AU$26 million in seed funding over four years from 2018 was included to establish the Australian Space Agency, with a further AU$15 million 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, with Megan Clark as 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, near the north-eastern corner of Adelaide city centre, in 2019.
The agency opened its office on 19 February 2020. It aims to triple the size of the Australian space industry and create 20,000 new jobs by 2030.
The Australian Space Discovery Centre is co-located with the agency.
A new sculpture by Sundari Carmody, entitled One: all that we can see, is a 4 m (13 ft) wide a large tubular ring, fashioned from steel and with LED light at the top was unveiled in June 2022. The work was commissioned by Lot Fourteen, and is located in front of the Australian Space Discovery Centre.
The Agency has six primary responsibilities:
The Australian Space Agency differentiates itself from other national space programs in its stated focus on private development and businesses rather than state driven operations (contrasting with NASA and the European Space Agency).
The leader of the agency is titled the Head.
|Megan Clark||15 May 2018||31 December 2020|
|Enrico Palermo||28 January 2021||Incumbent|