Australian space agency details to be released on May 8

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex. Image courtesy of NASA.

On 8 May 2018, the Australian government will unveil its Budget 2018-19, which will contain details of its new space agency.

Next week’s Budget release will confirm announcements that the space agency will receive a seed-funding of AU$50 million (US$37.6 million), as reported by ABC. According to the report, the agency will be led by Dr Megan Clark, Chief Executive of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), who headed the Expert Reference Group that reviewed Australia’s space capabilities. The Budget will also reveal the location of the space agency’s headquarters.

The setting up of an Australian space agency was announced by the government on 25 September 2017 at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide. This came after a lengthy push for it by local industry professionals, who argued that an agency could boost the space economy and help regulate and coordinate the many space activities in the country.

Currently, Australia hosts most of the world’s largest aerospace MNCs, including Boeing’s largest footprint outside the US. The country also hosts the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, which has supported multiple NASA missions such as Apollo, and is currently supporting over 44 international missions to deep space. Australia also has one of the most active NewSpace ecosystems.

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