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Looking up, Down Under: Australia to create space agency, 50 years after launching satellite

Published: September 25, 2017
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Source: SCMP

Half a century after sending a satellite into orbit aboard a rocket emblazoned with a spear-carrying kangaroo, Australia on Monday committed to creating a national space agency as it looks to cash in on the lucrative and fast-evolving astronautical sector.

The announcement came at a week-long Adelaide space conference attended by the world’s top scientists and experts including SpaceX chief Elon Musk.

It brings Canberra - which already has significant involvement in national and international space activities - into line with most other developed nations, which already have dedicated agencies to help coordinate the industry and shape development.

“The global space industry is growing rapidly and it’s crucial that Australia is part of this growth,” acting science minister Michaelia Cash said in statement.

“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.”

According to the government, the global space sector - encompassing innovation, defence, and telecommunications - has been growing annually since the late 1990s at almost 10 per cent, driving revenue each year of US$323 billion.

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