The Australian Space Agency is set to receive A$41m ($30m) of initial funding from the country’s federal government.

The fund has been allocated in the new 2018-19 federal budget. It includes A$26m ($19m) for the establishment of a national space agency, as well as A$15m ($11m) for strategic space projects that will generate employment and business opportunities for Australian citizens.

Australian Space Agency is responsible for developing the country’s space industry, with operations scheduled to begin in July this year.

“The annual worth of the global space industry is currently A$420bn ($312m) and is growing by 10% each year.”

UNSW Canberra rector professor Michael Frater said: “Instead of playing catch-up to the world, we can now couple our skills and expertise in space with our excellence in quantum technologies, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems to become a world leader in many existing and new aspects of the international space economy.”

Canberra is expected to be the headquarters of Australia’s new space agency.

Currently, UNSW Canberra has a workforce of 40 space engineers and scientists. It provides various research and innovation opportunities through its space programme, UNSW Canberra Space.

UNSW Canberra Space director Russell Boyce said: “UNSW Canberra Space has over A$20m ($15m) of investment, successful spacecraft in or soon to be in orbit in partnership with defence, and the commercial spin-off Skykraft to extend R&D to operational and commercial outcomes.”

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Boyce is also a member of the Expert Review Group that advised the government on the establishment of the national space agency. He added that the annual worth of the global space industry is currently A$420bn ($312m) and is growing by 10% each year.