Space Race: Up to 20,000 Jobs Could Be Created With Our New Space Agency… But Where Is It Going To Call Home?

Australia’s first dedicated space agency is just around the corner, and with it up to 20,000 jobs could be created.

What you need to know
  • Up to 20,000 jobs could be created with the new Australian Space Agency
  • Former CSIRO boss Megan Clark appointed to lead the organisation
  • States and Territories in a hotly contested race to host the Agency

The nation’s relatively small space industry is about to blast off, thanks to a $41 million injection from this month’s federal budget to establish the organisation.

“The space sector is a multi-billion-dollar industry in Australia already, and having our own space agency will enable us to better co-ordinate the many opportunities that exist both for international co-operation, international partnership, and investment,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday.

“There’s a lot of very enterprising work going on in Australia. We have a big space sector of course, not least because we’ve got such a large share of the world’s land mass.”

Former CSIRO boss Megan Clark was on Monday appointed the head of the Australian Space Agency… leaving one very important question unanswered.

Where is it going to be??

The states are currently in a hotly contested race, with New South Wales, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory emerging as front runners.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand why each state is upping the ante: the global market for space is $345 billion per annum, growing at a rate of about 10-percent each year.

Australia, day and night, satellite image of the Earth. Image: Getty Images

Australia currently only receives a tiny slice -- around 0.8 percent -- of the profit pie.

Whoever lands this exciting new project will surely reap the rewards.

Its operations are currently being carried out in Canberra, but New South Wales is desperate to win this, as is Western Australia.

Dr Clark will visit with the states and capitals over the next 6 months to gauge where might work best.

Dr Brad Tucker is an expert in Astrophysics from the Australian National University, and believes now is the perfect time for Australia to become a major global leader.

“The thing about starting a space agency now is the market is changing, space is becoming quicker cheaper and affordable.”

The Australia Telescope Compact Array radio telescope at Paul Wild Observatory Narrabri. Image: Getty Images

He believes we stand to gain astronomically if we capitalise on our rich history in mining.

“I think one of the great things Australia needs to focus on is Asteroid mining. It seems like sci-fi, but it isn’t.

“There’s a lot of ways mining can benefit from space, and space can benefit from mining. While we want to start small because we don’t have a lot of money, we should think big and become the world leader because if we can, then we have a booming industry in the next 20-50 years.”

Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Michaelia Cash, on Monday said the global space industry was growing rapidly and Australia was crucial to its continued success.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to increase our share of the growing global space economy.

“Space technologies are not just about taking people to the moon, they open up opportunities for many industries, including communications, agriculture, mining, oil and gas.

"An Australian space agency will support the long-term development of space technologies, grow our domestic space industry and secure our place in the global space economy.”