Australia recently decided to establish a national space agency.
Carie Lemack is co-founder and CEO of DreamUp, “the first company to bring space into classrooms and classrooms into space.” A former national security policy expert/advocate and producer of an Academy Award-nominated film, Lemack is a proud alumna of Space Camp and supporter of all space cadets reaching for the stars. Lemack contributed this article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Exotic though it may be, and romanticized though it often is, Australia is more than a distant country and a faraway continent.
It is in fact a land of technological innovation, international diversity and urban sophistication. It is as relevant, economically and culturally, to Asia as it is to America, with top research universities, distinguished doctors, professors and scientists, in addition to a nationwide interest in space-based research.
Indeed, there is a bond between Australia and America that stretches from the winter (or summer, depending on your hemisphere) of 1962, when John Glenn orbited the earth and dubbed Perth the “City of Lights” because of the nighttime illumination of the capital of Western Australia — because of the transformation of the city’s layout into a grid of gold, visible from Glenn’s capsule, so he could see this tribute from so many people to such a singular person. [Giant Leaps: Top Milestones of Human Spaceflight]
That light still shines, as I can confirm, given my attendance at the recent International Astronautical Congress is Adelaide, Australia, and my subsequent visit to Perth.
Not since the day when fellow NASA astronaut Scott Carpenter, serving as the capsule communicator at Cape Canaveral, would say three words that now belong to the ages — “Godspeed, John Glenn” — has there been as much potential…