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Victoria stakes claim as the Place for Space

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Victoria is upping its bid to become Australia’s space state, with a campaign saying just why it should be home for the new Australian Space Agency.

The campaign is titled Victoria: The Place for Space and highlights the state’s space credentials, which include 250 companies in the space sector, employing some 2,300 people.

Space business generates more than $400 million revenue for the Victorian state economy every year.

Victorian Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll said the state’s bid for the Australian Space Agency was all about Victorian jobs and the future of its economy.

“We’re already a leader in aerospace research and development – which makes us an obvious choice to help co-ordinate national and international collaboration on space,” he said.

“Companies like Opaque Media Group who have worked in collaboration with NASA are another example of the specialist expertise we have in Victoria and sets us apart from the rest of the pack.”

Opaque has developed the award-winning virtual reality Earthlight spacewalk, which simulates repair missions on the International Space Station, in consultation with NASA, which now uses the program to train its astronauts.

Opaque Media Group also provides virtual reality training programs for Boeing.

The company is receiving a grant from the Victorian government’s Defence Industry Supply Chain Program to help the business secure more high value contracts in aerospace, defence and national security.

Although an early pioneer of space, hosting British launches and even launching its own satellite, Australia’s space business languished.

Australia used a wide range of space services but, unlike other OECD nations, had no national space agency. That was recognised in the recent inquiry, which called for creation of a guiding national space agency.

The government agreed and the Australian Space Agency was officially launched in May, with the federal budget allocating initial funding of $41 million.

The agency is based in Canberra within the Federal Industry Department with former CSIRO head Dr Megan Clark as its inaugural head.

In its bid to become permanent home for the Australian Space Agency, Victoria cites its extensive aerospace sector, including world-class research and development centres, seven engineering schools, leading space data analytic capabilities and advanced manufacturing expertise.

It says it’s also a leader in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education, from the Victorian Space Science Education Centre to Australia’s top engineering and technology universities.

Major Australian space-related science and technology companies are based in Victoria, including Lockheed Martin, Thales, Boeing and BAE Systems.

“The size of Victoria’s space industry and our expertise in advanced manufacturing and research and development make Victoria the perfect location to base the manufacturing and development functions of the agency,” it said.

“Australia’s space sector is expected to triple over the next decade, meaning Victoria’s space sector could potentially create up to 4,000 new jobs and boost the economy by $1.3 billion.”

Victoria stakes claim as the Place for Space
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