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Audio Andy Thomas speaks of Australia's space program, 2008

TLF ID R9904

This is an edited sound recording of Australian astronaut Andy Thomas, discussing what he regards as a lack of Australian investment in a space program. Thomas outlines why he believes a country such as Australia needs a space program as a part of its 'basic infrastructure'. The recording was made in August 2008.



Educational details

Educational value
  • This recording gives the views of a leading Australian space scientist on his country's investment in space technology. Thomas (1951-) states his belief that investment in space capability by Australia has been lacking. He says space capability should be regarded as a basic element of 21st-century infrastructure, as essential as roads, railways and hospitals.
  • In this recording, Thomas explains that he is not suggesting that Australia should aim to send astronauts to the Moon. Rather, he believes Australia's space program should focus on a capability of using satellites for purposes such as national security, and for environmental, ecological and weather monitoring.
  • This recording was made four months after Thomas gave evidence to the Australian Senate Standing Committee on Economics as it conducted an inquiry into the country's space science and industry sector. Thomas told the inquiry he believed the federal government should set up a national space agency to develop areas of Australian space expertise in collaboration with similar agencies in other countries.
  • In its interim report published in June 2008, the Senate Standing Committee noted that Australia was an early leader in some aspects of space science and industry. For example, in 1967 Australia became the fourth nation (after the USSR, the USA and France) to successfully launch a satellite from its own territory. However, the Committee noted that Australia was now one of the few large- or medium-sized rich countries that did not own its own satellite.
  • Adelaide-born Thomas worked as a research scientist in fields such as aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, jet propulsion and microgravity before he joined the staff of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1992. He became qualified as a NASA astronaut after one year of training. He also spent a further year training in Russia so he could become a cosmonaut under a cooperative program between the USA and Russia.
Year level

8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • science
Strand
  • Science/Science as a human endeavour
  • Science/Science understanding

    Other details

    Contributors
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
    • Copyright holder
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
    • Remarks: Copyright Education Services Australia Ltd
    • Content provider
    • Author
    • Date of contribution: 2008
    • Name: Andy Thomas
    • Remarks: speaker
    Access profile
    • Colour independence
    • Device independence
    Learning resource type
    • Sound
    Browsers
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
    • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
    Operating systems
    • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
    • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
    Rights
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.