Australia Joins Space Race with New Space Agency

What only a decade ago seemed like a distant dream – the resurgence of the space industry, this time in private hands – has quickly turned reality. It will not be long until there are more companies launching things into space than there are governments.
Aussies to get a domestic space view of down under 1 photo
As if to even the odds between private contractors and state-funded agencies, Australia confirmed this week it plans major investments in the aerospace sector.

The stated goal of setting up the Australian Space Agency is, officially, to drive investment and create jobs by taking a slice of the aerospace cake cooking across the seas in the U.S. and Asia.

“To capitalize on its growth opportunities nationally and internationally there is need for Australia to create a national vision for the space sector that prioritises building on Australia’s strengths and competitive advantages,” says the Australian government in a document released this week.

“A national space agency will be well positioned to create a national strategy addressing Australia’s space development needs to see greater Australian participation in the global space economy. “

It’s not clear what exactly the new space agency will do, at least in its early years. As per the initial guidelines released by the government, the most important task of the new body is to develop communication technologies. Other goals are space debris monitoring and the creation of robotics and autonomous systems for remote asset management.

Currently, there are roughly 72 different national space agencies officially established. Of them, only 14 have some type of launch capabilities, and only six are fully equipped to do so: CNSA (China), ESA (Europe), NASA (U.S.), JAXA (Japan), ISRO (India) and Roscosmos (Russia).

Only two national space agencies, the Chinese and Russian ones, are capable of supporting manned flights to space. Since 2011, no astronaut has seen the interior of an American space capsule. Astronauts of all nationalities heading for the International Space Station launch in Russian Soyuz capsules.


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