Australia’s first dedicated space centre has launched in Adelaide with Premier Jay Weatherill hoping to cash in on the nearly $4 billion-a-year national industry.
The South Australian Space Industry Centre will create jobs by allowing manufacturers to transition to the high-tech growth sector, Mr Weatherill says.
“Many people think space is about astronauts and rockets. It’s so much more than that. It has become part of our everyday lives from our daily weather forecasts to using our mobile phones,” he said.
The premier said the centre was a continuation of the state’s push towards technologically based industries, including billionaire Elon Musk’s lithium-ion battery farm north of Adelaide.
“As an industry, space is growing at more than three times the world annual GDP. The potential is enormous and opportunities abundant,” Mr Weatherill said.
Setting up a national space agency would more than double the 11,500 jobs already created by the industry within eight years, the premier said.
Last month, SA and the Australian Capital Territory joined forces to push for a dedicated space site.
The Northern Territory has since also joined.
Australia is one of a few developed countries without a national space agency, with New Zealand creating its own last year.
Federal Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos announced in July a review of Australia’s space industry capabilities and said a national agency would be under consideration.
Adelaide will host an international space congress next week, when tech entrepreneur Mr Musk is expected to update his plans for a mission to Mars.