Australia's first astronaut to launch NSW space agency bid

Published: 23 May 2018

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Trade and Industry Niall Blair today announced Australia’s first astronaut, Dr Paul Scully-Power AM, would lead NSW’s bid to locate the nation’s first space agency in Sydney.

Ms Berejiklian said Dr Scully-Power AM has gone where few human beings have gone before - selected by NASA in the early 1980s to be a payload specialist on the 13th Space Shuttle for eight days and 133 Earth orbits.

“Since then he has led a highly-distinguished and diverse career in sectors such as defence, national security, aviation, marine science, communications, systems analysis and education,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We are home to the nation’s busiest and biggest space industry sector, bringing high-tech research and advanced manufacturing together to support the nation’s future space ventures.

“The Commonwealth is looking for a home for its new national space agency - there’s no question that NSW is best placed to host it and there’s no-one better suited than our nation’s first astronaut to lead our bid.”

In addition to establishing the State as an early and strong bidder for the agency, Dr Scully-Power will advise the NSW Government on how best to develop the space industry in NSW.

Mr Blair said NSW leads the nation in space technology and capability, with more 40 per cent of Australia’s space businesses.

“NSW’s Parkes telescope - The Dish - famously played a critical role receiving footage of the first moon walk by the crew of Apollo 11 in 1969 and we’ve remained Australia’s space innovation capital ever since,” Mr Blair said.

“One in every three space industry jobs in Australia are already based in NSW – we are the natural home for the Australian Space Agency.”

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