Alan Duffy welcomes announcement of new national space agency

Monday 25 September 2017

The Weapons Research Established Satellite (WRESAT)

In 1967, Australia became the third nation to design and launch a satellite to orbit the earth. Credit: International Astronautical Congress

In summary

  • Associate Professor Alan Duffy says new agency would be a boom for Australian jobs in the space industry
  • Space economy is worth $420 billion each year globally

Swinburne astrophysicist Alan Duffy has welcomed Australia’s move into the space industry after the Federal Government announced it will create a new aeronautics agency.

Associate Professor Duffy says it’s time Australia positioned itself to take advantage of the $420 billion a year that the space economy generates worldwide.

“Today’s announcements are a huge moment for Australia as we can finally explore and commercialise space together as a nation,” Associate Professor Duffy says.

“The space economy is worth $420 billion each year globally, and is growing faster than China; this is a sector we want to be involved in.”

The government will announce its intentions to create a national space agency at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide this week, where the Opposition will also reveal its own plan.

Associate Professor Duffy says Australia’s space sector was already worth $3-4billion and that could double with the introduction of a dedicated space agency.

He says it would be a boon for the number of Australian jobs in the space industry.

“A national space agency isn’t about sending people into space, it’s about creating people’s jobs here in Australia.

“I have spoken to countless students who want to know how they can work in the exciting space sector without having to go abroad. With a national space agency our best and brightest can now create a future economy right here.”

Associate Professor Duffy says these announcements come at a special anniversary for Australia’s involvement in space activities.

“It’s 50 years since the launch of WRESAT, the first satellite constructed and launched by Australia – making us only the third nation after the USA and USSR to do so at the time. A national space agency is our chance to rejoin our place in space.”

The Weapons Research Established Satellite (WRESAT) launch on 29 November 1967 marked Australia’s entry into space.

The Weapons Research Established Satellite (WRESAT) launch on 29 November 1967 marked Australia’s entry into space. A national space agency will hopefully see Australia regain its place in space. Credit: International Astronautical Congress


Announcing the initiative, Acting Science Minister Michaelia Cash said the sector was growing rapidly, and Australia needed to be a part of it.

"A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry.

"The agency will be the anchor for our domestic coordination and the front door for our international engagement."