The Australian government has confirmed its own space agency under the 2018-19 Federal Budget, with AU$41 million in funding committed to the project.
As part of the "growing the Australian space industry" tranche of its massive Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan unveiled in Tuesday's Budget, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science will get AU$5.7 million in 2018-19, AU$9.8 million in 2019-20, AU$11.8 million in 2020-21, and AU$13.7 million in 2021-22.
"This includes funding of AU$26 million over four years from 2018-19 to establish a National Space Agency, which will coordinate domestic space activities for Australia; and AU$15 million over three years from 2019-20 to establish the International Space Investment project, which will provide grants to strategic space projects that generate employment and business opportunities for Australians," the Budget papers explained.
According to the government, having a national space agency will "help Australian businesses capture more of the US$340 billion a year global space industry".
The Australian government had revealed in September that it would be establishing a national space agency after completing its review of the space industry.
It then announced signing a Space Tracking Treaty with NASA in October, with Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Michaelia Cash at the time saying the treaty "remains the foundation for a continued cooperative program between Australia and the United States".
In March, the opposition Labor party similarly promised a AU$35 million investment into a Space Industry Program, comprising research hubs and local space industry development, if it were to be elected in 2019.
The Federal Communications Commission has approved Elon Musk's SpaceX application to deliver broadband services from its Starlink Low Earth Orbit satellites.
Labor is promising an investment of up to AU$35 million for a Space Industry Program, comprising research hubs and local space industry development, if it wins the next federal election.
The signing of the treaty will see greater opportunities for knowledge-sharing between Australia and the US, as the former prepares to launch a national space agency.
The digital assistant CIMON features a version of IBM Watson, and will help astronauts complete tasks on the International Space Station.
SpaceX is seeking to create a 4,425-satellite broadband network that the FCC believes will provide internet to underserved parts of America and the rest of the world.