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Asia Minute: South Australia Home to New Space Agency

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Australia has big plans for developing the business of space. The launching of satellites alone has become a multi-billion dollar operation around the world, and Australia wants a bigger piece of the market.

This week, Australia’s government announced the location of its headquarters for a new national space agency. Adelaide in South Australia will be home to the Australian Space Agency — just created last year.

The organization will focus on coordinating various civilian aerospace companies, and helping to bring more international business for launching satellites.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the agency will “open doors for local businesses and Australian access to the 345-billion dollar global space industry.” He says that he expects the space sector will create another 20,000 jobs in Australia over the next dozen years.

But the beginnings are relatively modest — this is not on the scale of an organization like NASA. The new headquarters will be staffed by 20 people, and facilities don’t include a launch pad.

But the ambitions are bigger.

Credit Doug Barber / Flickr

Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews says the government is on track to triple the size of Australia’s space sector by the year 2030. She adds that employment opportunities will increase not only for young people, but also for workers transitioning from other sectors.

Adelaide was able to land the space headquarters by beating out competing bids from New South Wales and West Australia.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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