The CSIRO and global aircraft manufacturer Boeing have marked their 30-year anniversary with 20 new research projects worth more than $6 million.
It’s the largest research portfolio in the history of the relationship between the two, and is part of the $35 million, five-year agreement signed last year on space-related technologies.
CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall unveiled the expanded partnership at the Avalon Airshow in Victoria on Wednesday afternoon.
“During our 30-year partnership with Boeing, we’ve taken great pride in our shared vision for making life better. Our shared vision for sustainable aviation fuels and our improvements in manufacturing and safety have been great news for our people and our environment,” Mr Marshall said at the event.
“Our new partnership in space will create opportunities for not only new knowledge about our universe, but new opportunities for humankind,” he said.
The new projects include four space tech projects, including space situational awareness for commercial and civil purposes, lightweight radiation-shielding materials for spaceflight, and on-orbit manufacturing of space structures.
“This is the largest portfolio of projects in our 30-year history, and spans five of CSIRO’s areas of expertise, including data science, advanced manufacturing, future forecasting, energy and space science,” Dr Marshall said.
“Four of these new projects will focus on space technology, a timely investment in a sector which aligns with a national priority and growing international market, and at a time when our domestic space industry is growing exponentially,” he said.
“We look forward to the new discoveries we’ll share, and the flow on opportunities this will create for the sector as a whole, fueled by the belief we share in the power of science and technology to invent our future.”
The 20 projects will ‘inject $6.1 million into Australian innovation”, with the funding coming from the previous $35 million, five-year agreement.
The capital funds of each organisation – Main Sequence Ventures and Boeing HorizonX – both participated in a funding round for Adelaide-based space startup Myriota last year.
CSIRO has worked closely with the new Australian Space Agency, releasing a roadmap for “unlocking future growth opportunities” late last year.
CSIRO is a key Boeing partner in this part of the world. The agency has been named Boeing’s global supplier of the year for the last two years in a row.
“Boeing and CSIRO have a wealth of space technology expertise, and our collaboration stands to propel Australia’s space industry forward,” the multinational’s chief technology officer Greg Hyslop said.
“Boeing’s extensive experience in space dates back to the beginnings of NASA’s crewed space program and the start of satellite-based communications systems, and CSIRO has a 75-year history in developing space technologies,” he said.
At the Avalon Air Show, it was also revealed that the Australian government will invest $40 million to further develop Boeing’s 12-metre prototype drone to be used for electronic warfare.
The funding is to be used to progress the development of the unmanned aerial vehicle, which is being built in Brisbane in collaboration with the Royal Australian Air Force.