New space startup cluster launched

The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has established an organization to represent space startup companies in Australia.

Credit: Australian Defence
Credit: Australian Defence

Called the Aurora Space Startup Cluster, the new company is based at the Lot Fourteen innovation neighborhood in Adelaide, South Australia that is also home to the Australian Space Agency, The Lead portal reports.

Australia’s space industry is relatively young, with the Australian Space Agency founded in 2018. The South Australian space ecosystem has grown in recent years, with collaborations with NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the presence of numerous successful startups such as Myriota, Lux Aerobot, and ResearchSat.

SmartSat CEO Prof Andy Koronios said Aurora already has more than 65 member companies from all sectors of the space supply chain but is looking for more. He said they had startups offering rocket launch services, in-space computing, precision sensors, satellite digital twin technology, in-orbit and deep space operations, right through to ground station antennae development and Earth data applications for agriculture, resources and sustainability management.

Dr Tim Parsons, from Delta-V Newspace Alliance, chaired the Aurora Steering Group in the past year through its formation phase and said the new company aims to provide a framework for startups to grow through commercial collaboration with one another, research organizations, and local and international organizations.

Startups are, by definition, companies looking to grow fast by leveraging new technologies and disruptive business models,” Dr Parsons said. “If we’re to have any chance of meeting the nation’s ambitious growth targets for space, we need to help our space startups grow faster, in technical readiness level, in capability to execute, and commercial acumen.”

The SmartSat CRC is a consortium of universities and other research organizations, partnered with industry that has been funded by the Australian Government to develop know-how and technologies in advanced telecommunications and IoT connectivity, intelligent satellite systems and Earth observation next generation data services. The impact of this research will be to develop intellectual property and a specialist industry expertise that will spawn new businesses, create export economic value and generate new high-tech jobs for all Australians.

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