Australian Space Agency gets into action with new head


In an effort to accelerate Australia’s space operations, the Morrison Government appointed its new Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, who begins his tenure today.

As the former chief operating officer at American Spaceflight Company Virgin Galactic and ex-President at its high-tech manufacturing organisation, The Spaceship Company, Palermo holds an extensive record in aerospace-system manufacturing  

Palermo also worked in Australian chemical processing, management consulting, onshore and offshore oil and gas, and mining industries.

Returning from his stint in the United States, the Perth-raised spacecraft builder will base himself in the Agency’s Adelaide headquarters established last February 2020.

Palermo, whose appointment was made public in a November 2020 announcement, succeeds former head Dr Megan Clark AC who is now Chairman of the Agency.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews opined that Palermo’s interdisciplinary expertise will be leveraged to improve the local space sector – one of six priorities under the Morrison Government’s $1.5 billion-worth Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which seeks to give Aussie manufacturers a competitive edge against international companies and create more local jobs. 

“Enrico’s world class industry experience will ensure strong leadership of the Australian Space Agency as it continues to deliver on the goal we’ve set it to triple the size of the sector to $12 billion and add another 20,000 jobs by 2030,” said Minister Andrews.

“I look forward to working with Enrico to position Australia as a major space player, one that boosts our national economy and generates thousands of new jobs in the next decade,” Andrews continued.

Since its establishment in 2018, the Agency has invested over $700 million in the pursuit of civil space activities. Palermo noted that the third year operations will carry a “strong focus on delivery” to support the Agency’s Civil Space Priority Areas.

Commenting on his appointment, Palermo stated: “I look forward to working with the industry, research sector and government to build national capability, open doors internationally, ensure safe space activities that support innovation and entrepreneurialism, inspire our nation, and seize the enormous opportunities ahead on our mission to grow and transform the industry.”