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Australia bids for the stars with new Space Agency

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By Robert Hackwill
Australia bids for the stars with new Space Agency

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Monday Australia would create its own space agency to increase its share of the 277 billion euro space economy.

The official launch of the initiative was made by the Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide.

“I am confident that with our unique geography, South Australia will naturally be at the forefront of an increased Australian engagement in space industries,” he said.

Australia in 1967 became one of the first countries to launch a satellite and NASA’s Honeysuckle Creek tracking station in Australia broadcast the images of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, but successive governments have baulked at establishing a space agency because of cost. The government has yet to announce how much it will invest in the new agency. Australia currently has less than a 1% share
of the lucrative market.

Of the OECD nations only Iceland and Australia have had no space agencies of their own.