Better late than never, it looks like Australia is headed to space!
Plans for an Australian space agency have been in the works for months now, but the ABC is reporting that the federal government is putting its money where its mouth is by setting aside $50 million to help launch it.
At the federal budget this coming Tuesday, May 8, the government is expected to unveil what it's calling "seed funding" for a prospective space agency, in an attempt to create more jobs and take part in what most observers believe will be a burgeoning industry in the future.
There's been a lot of excitement around the idea of Space 2.0, the idea of lower-cost and commercial space travel. Many believe there's an opportunity there. Other developed countries, including New Zealand, Australia's neighbour, already have space agencies.
Former CSIRO boss Megan Clark, who helped the government complete a review on this topic, is expected to head up the agency in its first year. According to the ABC's report, the government expects that the private sector will contribute the majority of funding required for Australia's space industry.
But $50 million is a decent start.
"They should be able to do something useful with the money," Andrew Dempster told CNET. He's the director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research at the University of NSW.
"If some of that goes to developing mission that leads to Australian assets in space that's a good thing. Hopefully it could facilitate the development of start ups as well.
"What we need is technical people who sit in the agency and are proactive and not reactive."
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