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AUS$41m space agency is Adelaide’s ‘ultimate’ conference legacy

Meetings industry chiefs in Adelaide claim to have secured the ‘largest legacy of any Australian business event’ after the city was chosen to house the country’s new AUS$41m Space Agency.

The 4,500-delegate International Astronautical Congress (IAC), held in 2017, remains the largest business event won by the Adelaide Convention Bureau and Team Adelaide for South Australia.

The ambition of local IAC committee members from the Space Industry Association of Australia was to use the event to spark interest for an Australian Space Agency.

Their goal was realised at the opening ceremony of the five-day event with the announcement that the government would indeed open a National Space Agency.

The announcement began a fierce bidding process by most Australian states to house the agency’s permanent headquarters. South Australia, home to more than 60 organisations and 800 employees in space-related sectors, was eventually given the nod ahead of strong bids from Queensland and New South Wales.

The federal government has set aside AUS$41m for the agency, which will include a mission control centre, and give Australia ‘a seat at the table’ in space regulation.

It is hoped that the agency will create 20,000 jobs.

Damien Kitto, CEO Adelaide Convention Bureau, said: “The Space Agency is the ultimate legacy following the hosting the IAC and it presents a huge opportunity for the Adelaide Convention Bureau.  As with medical and health-based events following the massive investment in infrastructure in the BioMed City, this development has opened the doors to the bureau now having a huge asset to utilise when seeking to attract space and related industry events to Adelaide.”

Space entrepreneur Elon Musk was star speaker at the congress

The Australian Space Agency location announcement is the pinnacle of a series of legacies resulting from the IAC 2017.  It will be housed in the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site (now known as Lot Fourteen Innovation Hub) in the eastern end of the central business district – walking distance from the Adelaide Convention Centre and the BioMed City including the new hospital all located the West End of the city.

Legacies of the 2017 IAC

Investment 

  • Adelaide SPACE startup Fleet announced a partnership with French space agency CNES to track and support Fleet’s first nanosatellites once launched.
  • Italy’s largest privately-owned space company SITAEL signed a letter of intent with local start up Inovar to jointly establish a multi-million dollar company in South Australia dedicated to the development and integration of nano-micro and mini-satellite based innovative satellites and space mission concepts. This includes deployment and operation of satellite ground station.
  • Two letters of intent were signed between the South Australian Government and Germany respectively, with DLR (German Aerospace Centre) and the State of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

Skilled migration

  • Former Space Shuttle commander Pamela Melroy migrated to Adelaide to work with Nova Systems for 12 months.

Education

  • UniSA, the International Space University and the Government of South Australia signed a Memorandum of Intent for specific implementation of the yearly Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program. It includes a study for the development of short courses in the field of space entrepreneurship; and a study for the creation of a joint Institute in Adelaide to create a sustainable base for joint activities in the space field.