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Australia to create national space agency

BBC News

Australia will establish a national space agency to grow its space industry, the government has said. The nation is one of the only developed countries in the world not to have a space agency. Acting Industry Minister Michaelia Cash said it was "crucial" that Australia capitalised on the rapid growth of the global space industry. It follows a domestic industry review which had called for a dedicated body to be established. "The agency will be the anchor for our domestic co-ordination and the front door for our international engagement," Ms Cash said.


The White House is calling for Space Traffic Control

Popular Science

Officials at the White House announced a new space policy directive last week, focused on managing the increasing numbers of satellites that companies and governments are launching into space. Space Policy Directive-3 lays out general guidelines for the United States to mitigate the effects of space debris and track and manage traffic in space. The news was announced last week at the meeting of the National Space Council, but was quickly overshadowed by President Donald Trump's surprise announcement indicating that he wished to establish an independent military branch focused on space. As the name implies, this is the third space directive issued by the current administration since the reinstatement of the National Space Council in June 2017. The first directive pushed for humans to return to the moon.


China to launch second space lab module, new manned mission

The Japan Times

BEIJING – China will launch its second experimental space laboratory late Thursday and another manned space mission next month, the government said, part of a broader plan to have a permanent manned space station in service around 2022. Advancing China's space program is a priority for Beijing, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power, and apart from its civilian ambitions, Beijing has tested anti-satellite missiles. China insists its space program is for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted its increasing space capabilities, saying it was pursuing activities aimed to prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis. In a manned space mission in 2013, three Chinese astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with an experimental space laboratory, the Tiangong 1, or "Heavenly Palace." China will launch the Tiangong 2 just after 10 p.m. on Thursday, a space program spokeswoman told a news conference that was carried live from the remote launch site in Jiuquan, in the Gobi desert.


China is inviting international scientists to its future space station

Engadget

With China's Tiangong-1 space station plummet Earthward to a fiery demise back in April, the country has looked forward to its next space outpost. The East Asian nation hopes to have it in orbit by the end of 2022, and is planning to open it up to the world: UN member states can now apply to visit the China Space Station, as it will be called, to perform experiments. "The China Space Station belongs not only to China, but also to the world. Just as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 proclaimed, the exploration and use of outer space shall be a common province for humankind. Outer space should become a new domain for promoting the common interests of everyone, rather than a new battlefield for competition and confrontation," said China's representative to the UN, Ambassador Shi Zhongjun, in a statement announcing the initiative.


China launches two astronauts to stay on its new space station

New Scientist

China has launched a pair of astronauts into space on a mission to dock with an experimental space station. The astronauts will remain on board for 30 days in preparation for the assembly of a full facility six years from now. The Shenzhou 11 mission took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on the edge of the Gobi Desert in northern China aboard a Long March-2F carrier rocket. It will dock with the Tiangong 2 space station within two days, and its crew will conduct a variety of experiments during their stay. Tiangong-2 carries 14 experiments, including atmospheric sensing instruments that can detect air pollution.