Space, no longer the final frontier Wednesday, 19 December 2018

It has been announced that the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency will be based in Adelaide and is expected to create up to 20,000 jobs by 2030.

The announcement, by South Australia's Premier, Steven Marshall, came as Virgin Galactic revealed its VSS Unity spaceship, built to carry passengers, reached the edge of space for the first time. And our own CSIRO revealed its involvement with the European Space Agency's new deep space tracking station in Western Australia.

On its flight, Virgin Galactic's spacecraft conducted a planned 60-second rocket motor burn that propelled it to almost three times the speed of sound and an apogee of 51.4 miles. The VSS Unity then made a Mach 2.5 supersonic re-entry and landed on a runway in the Mojave Desert in the US.

CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company, George Whitesides, believes commercial space will become one of the 21st century's defining industries.

"Reusable vehicles built and operated by private companies are about to transform our business and personal lives in ways which are as yet hard to imagine,” he said.

In Australia, Steven Marshall revealed the Australian Space Agency would be located in the very heart of Adelaide, making it even more attractive for aerospace engineers to work there in the future. He said the announcement showed that Australia is serious about developing a competitive space sector.

The Federal Government is investing $41 million into the agency, which Marshall said would "act as a launching pad to triple Australia's space economy" to $12 billion within a dozen years.

South Australia is not a new destination for the aerospace industry as there is already a cluster of local and international companies located in the state. However, the space industry is also making an impact elsewhere in the country, with the CSIRO announcing its involvement with the European Space Agency's new Norcia Station in WA, for maintenance and operational support.