Australia's bid to join the rapidly growing space industry will receive a multimillion-dollar boost. Most developed countries, including New Zealand, have agencies dedicated to promoting industries in space. Australia has many space startups, some of which have struck deals with NASA and other international agencies.
Australia is entering the race into space late compared to other developed nations. The National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. civilian space program, was set up in 1958, while the Canadian Space Agency was formed in 1989. The United Kingdom Space Agency aims to capture 10 percent of the global space market by 2030.
Australia currently does not have rockets that can transport satellites into orbit, nor does it have any launch capabilities. However, the rapid advance of technology and reusable rockets have drastically cut the cost of doing business in space.
A company in Australia's Northern Territory is working with Indigenous groups to build a launch site.
Professor Anna Moore, a member of the Australian government's Expert Reference Group, which advises officials on creating a space agency, says a cash-boost in this week's federal budget will go a long way.
"The (AUD) $50 million injection is a great start for setting up the agency itself. We are talking about setting up the administration, the legal aspects, working across government," said Moore.
The Australian space industry has grown by about 10 percent annually over the past two decades. Experts believe it has the potential to create thousands of jobs, and say that a domestic space agency will consolidate the sector, give it direction and foster international links.
Brad Tucker is an astrophysicist at the Australian National University.
"I think it is overdue since the 60s, with the launch of the first satellite, and Australia was one of the first countries to get into the business and it is now great to hear that the Australian government is paying attention," he said.
Private sector finance will also be needed to match the government's contribution to help set up a new national space agency.