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.
Space is a big place, but our upper atmosphere isn't. Rapidly increasing numbers of satellites orbit there, in addition to innumerable bits of space debris, and rockets fly through it on missions to the moon, Mars, asteroids, and deep space. President Trump's newly revived National Space Council will have to manage this busy region and beyond. Ramin A. Skibba (@raminskibba) is an astrophysicist turned science writer and freelance journalist based in San Diego. The council members--which include heads of dozens of agencies, including the state, defense, commerce, transportation, and homeland security departments--have their work cut out for them as they develop recommendations for national space policy.
Australia wants a slice of the booming private space industry, and it's launching an agency to capitalise on it. The Australian Government announced on Monday at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide that it would commit to launching a space agency, following a review of the country's space capability and years of calls to establish one. "The case for establishing an Australian space agency is compelling. And so, I am pleased today to announce that the Australian Government will be establishing a national space agency," South Australian senator Simon Birmingham said. Today I'm pleased to announce on behalf of the Turnbull Government that Australia will have a space agency #IAC2017 pic.twitter.com/2pd9HoVi8f
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.
NASA is teaming up with the Russian space agency Roscosmos to build a moon base and further space exploration, according to an announcement made on Wednesday. The statement from NASA mentions that it is collaborating with Roscosmos as it continues to work on the "deep space gateway" concept, referring to an idea in which a manned spacecraft in orbit around the moon would be used as a launching point for missions both to the lunar surface and to points in space farther away. That cislunar spacecraft is projected to kick off in the 2020s. "Building a strategic capability for advancing and sustaining human space exploration in the vicinity of the moon will require the best from NASA, interested international partners, and U.S. industry," the American space agency said. Working internationally "reflects the common vision for human exploration that NASA and Roscosmos share.