Prime Minister Scott Morrison has bolstered space sector ambitions with the appointment of Virgin Galactic's Chief Operating Officer as the new head of the Australian Space Agency.
Perth native Enrico Palermo will replace inaugural boss Megan Clark to assist the Australian government's aims to significantly grow its space industry with jobs and economic growth over the next 10 years.
Palermo returns to Australia after about two decades working in the UK and the United States, where he spent 14 years working for Virgin Galactic's aerospace-system manufacturing organisation.
During his career with Richard Branson's Virgin Group, Palermo was appointed founding president of The Spaceship Company (TSC), a manufacturing operation where he managed 700 engineers and technicians based in Mojave, California.
Morrison said Palermo's extensive international experience and leadership will "rocket" Australia's goal of becoming a major player in the international space industry.
Andrews said Australia’s space sector is expanding “at the speed of light,” and anticipates Palermo’s skills will build on the opportunities for private enterprises in the space industry.
“The economic benefits of space exploration are vast, with highly skilled jobs right along the supply chain from manufacturing to robotics, engineering, and resources.”
While acknowledging the developments of the last two years, Palermo said he relishes the opportunity of moving to Adelaide where the agency is based.