EXPERT REACTION: Australia's Space Agency set to land in Adelaide

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Australia’s Space Agency will touch down in Adelaide. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said South Australia was a key hub for innovation and the technology industry, making it the ideal home for the new Agency. The Australian Space Agency will be located in Adelaide by mid-2019 and it is hoped that it will help triple Australia’s space economy to $12 billion by 2030.

Organisation/s: Flinders University, The University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, University of South Australia

Expert Reaction

These comments have been collated by the Science Media Centre to provide a variety of expert perspectives on this issue. Feel free to use these quotes in your stories. Views expressed are the personal opinions of the experts named. They do not represent the views of the SMC or any other organisation unless specifically stated.

Mr Warwick Holmes is the Executive Director of Space Engineering at the University of Sydney

I welcome the decision for the Australian Space Agency to be based in South Australia. The state has a long and successful history of previous space engineering endeavours, including the Europa 1 to 10 launches at Woomera by ELDO, the precursor to the European Space Agency.
Placing the Australian Space Agency in South Australia in a natural progression and it is an ideal place for all universities and industry to work together to develop the next exciting stage of Australia’s space industry.

Last updated: 12 Dec 2018 12:29pm
Declared conflicts of interest:
None declared.
Swinburne University’s A/Prof Alan Duffy, Lead Scientist of The Royal Institution of Australia

South Australia has seen successive State Governments, most notably now with Premier Steven Marshall, support space companies making Adelaide a hub for innovation in this area.
The Australian Space Agency HQ will further drive the developments of the South Australian economy but it will benefit all States and Territories. Each has a unique effort that can be leveraged to benefit the nation, regardless of where the organisation that brings this all together is based
The potential establishment of a national industry-university called SmartSatCRC, which is led by UniSA but brings together all major players across Australia and internationally, is a great example of how all are needed to make a success of space.
The technologies that are developed and the jobs created in both building and launching satellites, developing new sensors to observe Earth from space and generating insights for farms, fisheries and industries back in Australia.

Last updated: 12 Dec 2018 12:28pm
Declared conflicts of interest:
None declared.
Dr Alice Gorman is a Senior Lecturer in the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Flinders University and an internationally recognised leader in the emerging field of space archaeology

This is exciting news for South Australia. As well as the heritage of the Woomera rocket range, which launched the WRESAT 1 satellite in 1967 making Australia the fourth nation in space, South Australia has a flourishing space ecosystem. Space enterprises already located here include telecommunications and satellites, Internet of Things, defence science and technology, propulsion, and launch services. There is a strong space education focus with the International Space University's Southern Hemisphere program and the Hamilton Space School. There are significant research strengths in satellite systems, space law and space heritage. 

The location of the Agency's headquarters in Adelaide does not mean that industry and research enterprises in other states are not going to play major roles in Australia's bid to grow its share of the global space market. But the announcement means that the Agency, still less than six months old, can really settle down and focus on its core business. At a national level, we're demonstrating that we're serious about space and Australia is ready to make its mark.

Last updated: 12 Dec 2018 12:04pm
Declared conflicts of interest:
None declared.
Professor Andrew Dempster is the Director, Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research at UNSW

After the euphoria of the agency's initial announcement last year and establishment this year, this decision will be a great disappointment to the many who worked so hard to establish the agency. Today's announcement was very parochial, with no mention of other states that make significant contributions to the space industry. One hopes that the agency will not continue in this vein, and acknowledge the great majority of Australia's space effort, which is made outside South Australia.

The model proposed where there is a headquarters somewhere sensible, like Canberra, with nodes in each state, that develop the individual strengths of those states, has similarly been ignored. The main beneficiary of this announcement may end up being Qantas, with the likely amount of travel which will be required between the agency and where the work is being done.

Last updated: 12 Dec 2018 12:03pm
Declared conflicts of interest:
None declared.
Richard de Grijs is Professor of Astrophysics at Macquarie University and Associate Dean responsible for the global engagement of its Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Australia now joins the league of space nations. We are still a junior partner though, with a really tight budget compared with the big players, and so the nation would be well advised to consider inputs from a wide variety of stakeholders, partners and even competitors in drawing up a mature space program in years to come.

While Adelaide has won the competition to physically host the agency, there is much to be gained from close collaboration across the board, drawing on expertise from around the country and, indeed, the world. Such a collaborative approach will ultimately benefit us all, anywhere in the world.

Last updated: 12 Dec 2018 11:55am
Declared conflicts of interest:
None declared.
Professor Andy Koronios is UniSA Dean of Research and Industry

The location of the Space Agency in South Australia will enhance UniSA’s contribution to the space industry through its leadership in a proposed Cooperative Research Centre in Intelligent Satellite systems (SmartSat) which it is currently co-leading with Nova Systems.

This CRC, if successful, will be a national collaboration of researchers and industry. The bid has already attracted more than 70 participants, who have committed nearly $200 million to develop game-changing technologies and help the Space Agency to build the Australian space industry and deliver wealth for the whole nation.

Last updated: 12 Dec 2018 11:53am
Declared conflicts of interest:
None declared.

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