Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Space as a Military Centre of Gravity

Credit: US Navy

The USS Lake Erie launched a Standard Missile-3 at a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite as it travelled in space at more than 27,000 km/h over the Pacific Ocean on 20 February 2008. Credit: US Navy

By Malcolm Davis

There is a common misconception that space is a pristine global commons that sits above terrestrial geopolitical rivalries. Nothing could be further from the emerging reality.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

With the establishment of Australia’s Space Agency in July, Australia is taking its first steps towards being a more serious participant in a rapidly growing global space sector. This is an exciting time for Australia’s space community, with the space agency seeking to establish civil space policy and strategy, coordinate domestic space activities, develop and grow a space industry, and more proactively engage in developing international partnerships as well as inspiring the next generation of space entrepreneurs.

The growth of a vibrant space industry is particularly important. The Australian space agency is not meant to be a “mini-NASA Down Under” that does everything from building rockets and satellites to directing missions in orbit. As I’ve argued previously (AS, May/June 2018, p.39), instead of embracing the Space 1.0 mindset, Australia’s best path forward is Space 2.0, with the commercial sector taking the lead and an emphasis on deregulation rather than the dead weight of government control smothering innovation and slowing progress.

In March, the Review of Australia's Space Industry Capability ( “set an ambitious goal for Australia to triple the size of its space industry by 2030 to AU$10–$12 billion” per year, and “provide an additional 10,000 to 20,000 high-...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.