WA should host space agency: Libs
Australia should have a space agency and WA should be its home, according to Liberal senator Linda Reynolds and State Opposition Leader Mike Nahan.
The pair have called on the Federal Government to establish an Australian equivalent of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, which spends about $2 billion a year developing the rocketry and robotic technology used by NASA in the Mars Rover program and to explore the rest of the solar system.
They made the case in a joint submission to the Federal Government’s review of Australia’s space industry capability launched by Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Arthur Sinodinos last month.
WA has eight of the nine space industry facilities identified as critical in the review’s issues paper, according to the submission, and will soon host the Australian element of the world’s most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array.
The State is already a go-to destination for researchers ahead of the project’s construction, as WA will be home to facilities to process some of the vast amounts of data the array will collect.
Senator Reynolds said the expertise already in WA meant Curtin University and the University of WA could form the nucleus of a local rival for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, a government-funded research and development facility run by the California Institute of Technology.
Dr Nahan said WA had the perfect combination of low population density, minimal electromagnetic interference and high air quality, making it the ideal location for the sensitive electronic measuring devices needed for space projects.
“WA’s advanced manufacturing and fabrication industries also have the potential to contribute to a growing national space industry,” he said.