Monday, 9th October 2017

The 68th International Astronautical Congress was held at the Adelaide Convention Centre at the end of September, bringing with it thousands of ideas, cool space gadgets and gobsmacking announcements.

Pushing aside the revelation by entrepreneur Elon Musk to send people to Mars on the BFR (Big F***ing Rocket) and the shocking claim that the same rocket could fly us to almost anywhere on Earth in under thirty minutes (at the same cost of a normal plane fare…) there were plenty of other new inventions, promises and proclamations.

One of those was the current Turnball Government committing to the creation of a National Space Agency in Australia, creating thousands of new job opportunities.

Australia is one of the few developed countries without an agency (there are thirty-five countries in the OECD, and we’re the last to get one) and we seem to be falling further and further behind when it comes to the space race.

“There are about eight different government departments at the moment which are using data from different sources, and we can bring that all under one global umbrella, effectively, to bring it all together,” says Warwick Holmes.

Holmes has spent thirty years working as an avionic systems engineer in the European space industry.

“It’s not about putting an Australian astronaut on the moon, or an Australian astronaut on the space station, or even sending an Australian spacecraft to Mars,” he says.

“It’s about doing far more down-to-earth…applications for giving benefit to Australian farmers and people looking for minerals and environmental monitoring. Because we have to justify to the Australian taxpayer the benefit of what space brings us. The benefits are enormous.”

The Government is yet to confirm where the agency will be located, but the rumour mill is in full swing as to where it might make its home.