Australian Space Agency

The Australian Space Agency is Australia's national agency responsible for the development of Australia's commercial space industry, coordinating domestic activities, identifying opportunities and facilitating international space engagement that include Australian stakeholders.

Australian Space Agency
Agency overview
Formed1 July 2018 (2018-07-01)
Preceding agencies
HeadquartersAdelaide, South Australia
Annual budget $9.8 million (2019/2020) [1]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Parent departmentDepartment of Industry, Innovation and Science


The Agency has six primary responsibilities:[2]

  1. Providing national policy and strategic advice on the civil space sector.
  2. Coordinating Australia's domestic civil space sector activities.
  3. Supporting the growth of Australia's space industry and the use of space across the broader economy.
  4. Leading international civil space engagement.
  5. Administering space activities legislation and delivering on our international obligations.
  6. Inspiring the Australian community and the next generation of space entrepreneurs.

In keeping with the above responsibilities, it is different from other established space programs in that it exists to promote private development and businesses rather than state space operations (contrasting with NASA and the European Space Agency).[3]


As of 2008, Australia was the only OECD country without a space agency other than Iceland,[4] with the preceding Australian Space Office (ASO) having been disbanded by the federal government in 1996.[5] A government report from the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Economics noted that Australia was "missing out on opportunities" and recommended that an agency immediately be developed.[6]

In 2009, the Space Policy Unit funded the Australian Space Research Program over three years.[4]

On 25 September 2017, at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Senator Simon Birmingham announced that the Australian Government would be launching a national space agency following an expert reference group investigation led by Dr. Megan Clark, former chief executive of CSIRO.[7]

As part of the Australian Government's 2018 budget announcement, $26m in seed funding over four years from 2018 was included to establish the Australian Space Agency, with a further $15m for international space investment starting from 2019.[8][9][10]

The budget was criticised for being inadequate by private Australian space companies including Delta-V and Gilmour Space Technologies,[11] and space archaeologist Alice Gorman noted that low-budget attempts at starting an Australian space agency have failed in the past.[12]

On 14 May 2018, Senator Michaelia Cash officially announced the launch of the Australian Space Agency, identifying 1 July 2018 as the commencement date of the agency. It will be located with the Industry Department in Canberra, and Dr. Megan Clark will be the inaugural Head of the agency for at least the first year.[13][14]

On 12 December 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison officially announced that Adelaide would become home to the Australian Space Agency. It would be located at Lot Fourteen, the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital in 2019.[15]

Head of Agency

Dr. Megan Clark AC15 May 2018Incumbent

See also


  1. Reichert, Corinne (8 May 2018). "Budget 2018 Government confirms AU41m Space Agency". ZDNet. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019.
  2. "Australian Space Agency Charter" (PDF). Department of Industry, Innovation & Science. Australian Government. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  3. Burgess, Katie (29 September 2018). "Not NASA: New Australian space agency more 'nimble', 'industry-focused'". The Canberra Times.
  4. Dempster, Andrew (4 April 2013). "Ten reasons why Australia urgently needs a space agency". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  5. "Australian Space Office". Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  6. Lost in Space? Setting a new direction for Australia's space science and industry sector (Report). Commonwealth of Australia. 12 November 2008. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-642-71996-6.
  7. Young, Matt; AAP (25 September 2017). "Australia commits to space agency". Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  8. Wicht, Anthony (8 May 2018). "Budget 2018: space agency details still scant – but GPS and satellite imagery funded". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  9. Greene, Andrew (2 May 2018). "Budget 2018: 'Seed funding' for Australian space agency to be unveiled". ABC News. Archived from the original on 9 October 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  10. "2018–19 Portfolio Budget Statements". Budget 2018–19. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  11. Sadler, Denham (8 May 2018). "Just $26m for new space agency". Innovation Aus.
  12. Dempster, Andrew; Gorman, Alice (29 March 2018). "What we're looking for in Australia's Space Agency: views from NSW and SA". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 12 April 2019.
  13. Pearce, Rohan (14 May 2018). "Australian Space Agency to launch on 1 July". Computerworld. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  14. McIlroy, Tom (14 May 2018). "New government space agency to join Industry Department". The Australian Financial Review. Archived from the original on 19 June 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  15. South Australia to become home to Australia's new space agency, 12 December 2018, retrieved 12 December 2018
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