Aus­tralian space p agency will need en­gi­neers

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

EN­GI­NEERS REACH­ING for the stars s should keep a watch­ing brief across the Tas­man for f a stel­lar job as it has been sug­gested that with pre­dic­tions the space in­dus­try could be worth more than AUD3.5 tril­lion within three decades, now is the time for the Aus­tralian govern­ment to es­tab­lish a na­tional space agency.

“We can’t af­ford to get stuck on Earth when ev­ery­one else is go­ing to the stars. Aus­tralia can fi­nally step up and par­tic­i­pate as an equal with other na­tions. The Euro­pean Space Agency has nine cen­tres and NASA runs 11 which sup­port space­flight pro­grams. Large chunks of the pri­vate sec­tor rely on them but our model has to be dif­fer­ent,” says Flin­ders Univer­sity space ar­chae­ol­o­gist, Dr Alice Gor­man.

Con­tin­ued in­vest­ment by pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions can be cap­i­talised on with AUD50 mil­lion dol­lars in seed fund­ing for a ded­i­cated agency – al­low­ing Aus­tralia the op­por­tu­nity to grow its mar­ket share in a boom­ing sec­tor.

Dr Gor­man says the push for ad­vance­ments d in i space tech­nol­ogy h l and d space ex­plo­ration, present eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in a global mar­ket.

“This is an in­vest­ment which al­lows us to com­pete in the global space race, and the Space In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia pre­dicts we can in­crease our share in the mar­ket from 0.8 to four per­cent within 20 years.”

“We are talk­ing about an in­dus­try that will need en­gi­neers, sci­en­tists, re­searchers, ar­chae­ol­o­gists, and even writ­ers and artists. Some skin in the game also gives our voice cred­i­bil­ity on is­sues like space junk and space treaties.”

In 1967 Aus­tralia be­came the third na­tion to launch a satel­lite on its own ter­ri­tory but has lagged be­hind since with­out a ded­i­cated agency.

Dr Gor­man says Aus­tralia can’t af­ford to ne­glect the in­dus­try and the in­vest­ment will also help solve crit­i­cal is­sues back on earth.

“Space medicine is a grow­ing area, and re­search done on bone den­sity and vi­sion im­pair­ment helps both as­tro­nauts and peo­ple l on E Earth. hW We can also l de­velop our Earth ob­ser­va­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties for dis­as­ter and en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment.

“This in­vest­ment isn’t tak­ing rev­enue away from im­por­tant is­sues, but will ac­tu­ally con­trib­ute to solv­ing them us­ing the data that’s gath­ered.”

But with the govern­ment yet to an­nounce the lo­ca­tion of a head­quar­ters for the agency, Dr. Gor­man says South Aus­tralia has the po­ten­tial to put it­self in the shop win­dow.

“A Can­berra-based head­quar­ters sup­ported by state based cen­tres makes a lot of sense. A num­ber of ex­cit­ing start ups are al­ready based in Ade­laide to­gether with the state funded ac­cel­er­a­tor and in­cu­ba­tor pro­grammes.”

Dr Gor­man says the govern­ment would not in­vest mil­lions to setup the agency if there wasn’t a clear ben­e­fit for jobs and the econ­omy.

“Aus­tralia can fi­nally step up and par­tic­i­pate. It’s our time at last.”

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