With a snip of the ribbon, the Australian Space Agency can finally call Adelaide home.
The agency yesterday unveiled its official headquarters in the CBD, located in the McEwin building of Lot Fourteen on Adelaide’s North Terrace.
Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark, was pleased to finally have a base for the agency.
“Having headquarters such as this where we can show off and showcase what we're doing here is fantastic,” Dr Clark said.
The agency already employs 19 staff who are working to establish partnerships with NASA, the European Space Agency, and other collaborators both local and international.
“When we finish the Discovery Centre and Mission Control, it gives us wonderful credentials to form those partnerships and welcome the partnerships that we will need to be able to go to space.”
The Space Discovery Centre will be an education platform run by the National Science and Technology Centre’s Questacon and will have a permanent exhibition to engage and inspire visitors.
It will also be an invaluable asset for training tertiary students in mission simulations.
The Mission Control Centre will have the facilities necessary for small satellite missions essential for the testing and maintenance of Australian satellite technology for researchers, educators, startups, and small to medium businesses.
Dr Clark believes the agency will also be a world first in allowing the public to directly observe space missions as they happen.
“We're going to open our Mission Control [and] people will be able to come in and see what's happening in space and what we're doing,” she said.
Both of these centres are due to be completed next year.
The Australian space industry employs around 10,000 people and is worth $3.9 billion dollars, according to government figures.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said today marks an entry point for Australia to seriously get into the space race.
“The plan that we have in place that we're currently implementing will grow the space industry here in Australia to triple in size to $12 billion and employ an additional 20,000 people by 2030,” Andrews said.
Additionally, the growth of the Australian space industry will make waves in other related industries, from research to manufacturing and mining.
“The occupations are very diverse. We will, of course, have astrophysicists, we’ll have scientists, we’ll have engineers, we’ll have electricians, we’ll have shift workers,” Andrews added.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasised how much promise the space industry had for future workers.
“Space captures the imagination and inspires us all. It develops new technologies that improve life on Earth and it offers huge economic and job opportunities," Morrison said.
“That’s why we’re investing almost $700 million into the space sector, including $150 million into Australian businesses, so they can pick up more work and support more jobs by partnering with NASA’s Moon to Mars initiative.”
Lot Fourteen, formerly the Royal Adelaide Hospital, is a collection of buildings used as an ‘innovation hub’ for STEM organisations, technology enterprises, and startups.
Companies already onsite include the Australian Computer Society (ACS), the space-propulsion developer Neumann Space, and the Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML).