New Head of Australian Space Agency announced

Joint media release with Prime Minister the Hon. Scott Morrison MP

The Morrison Government is continuing to put industry at the heart of the Australian space sector, to create jobs and grow the economy, with Virgin Galactic’s Chief Operating Officer Enrico Palermo to become the new Head of the Australian Space Agency.


Mr Palermo will return home to Australia to replace inaugural Head Dr Megan Clark, who will finish in the role at the end of December, before commencing as the Chair of the Australian Space Agency Advisory Board in the New Year.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Palermo comes to the position with extensive international experience in the space industry and will be an enormous asset to the Agency.


“Mr Palermo’s leadership will rocket Australia toward our goal of becoming a major player in the international space industry, while providing benefits across our economy,” the Prime Minister said.


“By 2030, we want to triple the size of our space sector – adding $12 billion to our economy and creating up to 20,000 new, high-skilled jobs.


“I extend my deepest thanks to Dr Clark who has led the Agency from its infancy in 2018 and set a clear path forward.”


Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said Mr Palermo’s background in engineering, commercialisation and innovation would provide strong leadership and direction for the Agency.


“Mr Palermo’s skill set reflects the reality of the space sector, which is about so much more than just research or launch – it improves life on earth and creates opportunities in a range of areas including manufacturing,” Minister Andrews said.


“The economic benefits of space exploration are vast, with highly skilled jobs right along the supply chain from manufacturing to robotics, engineering, and resources.


“The Australian space sector continues to expand at the speed of light, and I look forward to working closely with Mr Palermo to capitalise on the opportunities for Australian businesses and manufacturers in the space industry.


“I know he will build on the solid foundation of Dr Clark, who saw the Agency through lift off – establishing the Agency headquarters in Adelaide, modernising the space legislation framework to ensure safe operations and securing agreements with international space agencies and companies.”


Mr Palermo said he was honoured by the appointment, and excited to take up the role in January.


“In its first two years, the Australian Space Agency has made significant progress and achieved many firsts. I look forward to working with the Agency team to continue the mission of growing and transforming Australia’s space industry,” Mr Palermo said.


After graduating from the University of Western Australia, Mr Palermo has worked extensively in the space industry over the past two decades in the United Kingdom and the United States, including as President of The Spaceship Company, Virgin Galactic’s aerospace-system manufacturing organisation.

Media contact: 

Prime Minister's office: (02) 6277 7744

Minister Andrews' office: (02) 6277 7070