The first of the Australian Space Agency (ASA) engagement roadshows kicked off this week in Canberra, with over 100 people in attendance (click here for details of the upcoming sessions around the country).
A mix of industry, government, academia and interested parties gathered to chart the course ahead. While the ASA is only a few weeks old, they are aware of the scale of the challenge before them and are seeking to engage with industry as the government policy comes together.
Building on the work done by the Space Expert Reference Group, the roadshow series is a fact-finding mission to gauge the expectations of industry and academia on the new agency. Presentations from AGO, Geoscience Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology, ACT Defence Advocate Kate Lundy, DSTG, and CSIRO were the starting point for a group discussion that ranged from indigenous launch demand to STEM skills and how to balance the needs of the commercial users, government users, and Defence.
The ASA confirmed that they are working on an interim strategy document that they hope to release shortly to support the changes in space related legislation currently making their way through government. Agency staff also confirmed that they would focus on the civil use of space with an appreciation of the overlap that happens in regard to Defence.
There was some chicken and egg conversation about what comes first; demand from industry, or government policy. The feeling in the room was split over the best way to tackle the issue, but there was consensus that government will be making space more of a policy and funding priority going forward. It will be riding a wave of enthusiasm from the community.