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Peter B

Australia to create a space agency

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http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-25/government-to-establish-national-space-agency/8980268

Australia will create its own space agency in an attempt to cash in on a $420 billion aeronautical industry and create thousands of new jobs.

Most developed nations have a space agency, including New Zealand, and there are concerns Australia may be not be capitalising on the growing industry.

The Federal Government will detail the long-term plans at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, where the Opposition will also reveal its own plan.

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Good plan. I didn't know that Australia, up until now, didn't have a space agency.

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Embarrassingly we were (emphasis on WERE) once right up there - we were just the 7th country to launch a satellite into orbit back in the heydays of Woomera.  Then the gov completely and short sightedly lost interest, and we were left with a bunch of dedicated volunteers called ASRI who have actually done some very good work and we can thank them for keeping the pressure up and helping get us back into it.. But it will be hard going when we have lost so much time..

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1 hour ago, Likely Guy said:

Good plan. I didn't know that Australia, up until now, didn't have a space agency.

Yep, one of Australia's more embarrassing claims - the richest country in the world without a space agency.

After all, why do you need to worry about that when you're going to make your money from wheat, wool and gold? (Oh, you mean like regulating and managing satellites for weather, ground resources and telecommunications across a country the size of Australia...? *Groan*)

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2 hours ago, ChrLzs said:

Embarrassingly we were (emphasis on WERE) once right up there - we were just the 7th country to launch a satellite into orbit back in the heydays of Woomera.  Then the gov completely and short sightedly lost interest, and we were left with a bunch of dedicated volunteers called ASRI who have actually done some very good work and we can thank them for keeping the pressure up and helping get us back into it.. But it will be hard going when we have lost so much time..

Hey, I seem to recall the US and the UK having a big hand in that! The Sparta rocket that launched Wresat in 1967 was a modified US Redstone missile, and in 1971 the Black Arrow rocket and its satellite Prospero were built in the UK. The Blue Streak missiles that litter the Outback were also built in the UK.

Joking aside, when I was a boy my ambition was to work for what was expected to be a joint Australian and British space agency. Little did I know that Britain had already decided to sever links with Australia and join the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO). This was a disaster for both British and Australian rocket scientists. ELDO's Europa rocket was a failure, though I am proud to say the Blue Streak used as the first stage didn't fail once; it was the upper stages provided by our continental partners that messed things up. Consequently, the UK ceased all rocket development projects. This left the way clear for the French to develop the Ariane series of rockets, which it has to be said were and are excellent.

I can remember reading an article way back about how a significant number of British politicians wanted to maintain links with Australia. This was quashed by parliament because of the plans to join what became the European Union. It was also a lesson in how politics works. The government wouldn't admit in the mid-1960's that the reason for the split was because of plans to join the European Union. They said it was because Woomera is not well-placed for launching satellites into geosynchronous orbit. That is essentially true: not only is it a bit far south, the rockets would have to be flown in the direction of Brisbane. However, costed plans were produced to show how a launch site in Cape York would be ideal. In a move that was never properly explained, the Speaker of the House of Commons would not allow any debate on the Cape York proposal. Obviously, the political establishment had decided the UK was joining the EU, and that was that!

It is good to hear Australia is finally setting up a space agency. I am sure there will also be plans to join in with the space tourism industry. Perhaps I can now fulfill my ambition and move "down under". There are bound to be part-time jobs for ticket collectors or litter pickers ... 

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