Australian space startup cluster launched

16 Dec 2020
Called the Aurora Space Startup Cluster, the new company is based at the Lot Fourteen innovation neighbourhood in Adelaide, South Australia that is also home to the Australian Space Agency.

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.

“We invite space start-ups to join Aurora and help us build the space industry,” Koronios said.

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 organisations, and local and international organisations.

“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.”

Dr Parsons will chair the inaugural board comprised of Directors Andrew Barton from Southern Launch, Troy McCann from Moonshot, Conrad Pires from Picosat Systems, and Dr Anastasia Volkova from FluroSat.

Prof Koronios and Peter Nikoloff will represent SmartSat CRC.

The SmartSat CRC is a consortium of universities and other research organisations, 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.

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.

Originally published in The Lead.