‘Dances with the Gorilla’: Australians launch space strategy – Reuters


Launch from Woomera, Australia. (Credit Australian Department of Defence)

ADELAIDE: Australia announced today that it is putting in place a National Space Strategy, designed to integrate the civil, commercial and military aspects of its burgeoning space industry.

Melissa Price, minister for science and technology, told an Australian Space Forum audience here that the strategy will try to create a vision to the 2040s.

The space sector in Australia has grown rapidly since our government established the Australian Space Agency in 2018,” Price said. “So much has been accomplished – accomplishments that many did not think were possible just a few years ago. “But we must always look forward… and this update will see the sector even further.

“The SSU will give you and your investors greater confidence in Australia’s space sector as we seek to fulfill our mission to triple the size of the sector to $12 billion and create up to 20,000 additional jobs by 2030.”

(Such announcements ahead of the federal election due to be held before the end of May can’t hurt, especially since this city is the center of gravity for Australia’s space industry.)

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Enrico Palermo, the head of Australia’s Space Agency, will lead the ‘Strategic Space Update’, but he will, as one pundit wryly noted, have to dance with the gorilla known as the establishment. Australian defence.

“Every time you start dancing with the gorilla, the gorilla decides when to stop. You could very easily be overwhelmed by these juggernauts,” said Indo-defense industry veteran Jim McDowell. peaceful and director of Nova Systems, in Palermo during a panel at today’s event McDowell, speaking in his thick Ulster accent, drew grateful applause and laughter, as well as a look ironic from Palermo.

Sitting next to Palermo was the former gorilla, Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts, Australia’s first chief of his new Defense Space Command. She laughed with everyone and noted that Palermo “surpasses me”.

A range of industry and government leaders here at the Australia Space Forum have been asked to assess the accuracy of McDowell’s sighting. The feeling was universal that he is absolutely right: defense will dominate the trajectory of strategy for the simple reason that the vast majority of current space spending is in the defense sector.

Price, who was previously minister of defense industry, offered more sauce to the crowd when she announced the abolition of “partial cost recovery for launch applications”, which was in fact a tax industry paid for a launch permit. This was greeted with enthusiastic applause.

“We made this decision to provide you with the certainty you need to invest and to help our small and medium-sized space businesses continue to grow,” she told the audience. “The Morrison government is determined to see Australia recognize its potential as a premier launch destination.”

As Price noted in his speech, Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announced a $20 million injection for the Australian Space Manufacturing Center to be built here at the airport. Combined with other funding, she said the project is expected to generate 221 jobs, plus more than 1,000 more indirectly – another crowd pleaser ahead of what promises to be a close election for the ruling Liberal Party. by Morrison.

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