Update: On 8 May, the Australian government unveiled a budget that provides the new space agency with $19 million (AU$26 million) in seed money over 4 years. The plan emphasizes the commercial uses of space, and includes $11 million (AU$15 million) over three years to support applied projects.
Here is our original story from 3 May:
Australia is set to announce the country’s first space agency. Although the emphasis will apparently be on the commercial utilization of space, researchers are hoping there will be purely scientific efforts as well.
The government plans to provide $38 million in “seed money” to get the agency up and running, Australian media reported today. Officials are expected to formally announce the move on 8 May.
Geologist Megan Clark will lead the new agency, according to reports. She was formerly chief executive of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, the country’s network of laboratories. She also led an expert panel that the government created last year to explore the idea of establishing a space agency.