A consortium known as the Australian Space Manufacturing Network and led by Gilmour Space Technologies has secured $52 million in federal funding to manufacture launch vehicles and satellites and send them to space from North Queensland.
On Friday the federal government announced it will fund nearly a third of a $157 million Australian Space Manufacturing Network through the Modern Manufacturing Initiative.
The money comes from the co-investment grant program’s largest collaboration stream, with industry and other governments to make up the remainder.
Plans for the Australian Space Manufacturing Network were unveiled last year, with the initiative aiming to build “space heritage” among dozens of local space companies. The network had already secured commitments from the Queensland government and hinged on the federal government’s support.
With the money secured, the Gilmour Space-led network will create a manufacturing and test hub and an advanced manufacturing facility to produce launch vehicles and satellites.
Funds will also go to the Bowen Orbital Spaceport in North Queensland, which has received initial approvals from traditional owners and the local council. Gilmour is hoping to launch the first rocket from the facility in October this year after successful tests in January.
Industry Minister Angus Taylor, Science Minister Melissa Price and Employment Minister and local MP Stuart Robert announced the manufacturing grant on Friday.
“Australia’s space sector has already taken leaps and bounds and is globally recognised. The race is on in the $600 billion global space economy and the Australian Space Manufacturing Network will help cement the incredible opportunities for local companies to be part of the excitement of launch,” Mr Taylor said.
“From testing to manufacture, to assembly and finally launch, this project will harness great Aussie know-how to attract further private investment and create hundreds of high-skilled and high-value jobs. This is a big win for Queensland jobs.”
The Australian Space Manufacturing Network will use its new funding to establish three facilities for partners and universities: a common test and manufacturing hub, an advanced manufacturing facility for commercial rockets and satellites anchored by Gilmour, and the orbital spaceport at Abbot Point near Bowen in North Queensland.
The federal government said the project will create 850 new jobs, including 350 space manufacturers in highly skilled engineering and technical roles.
Gilmour Space Technologies chief executive Adam Gilmour last year said the network and new facilities will develop “space heritage” for local companies looking to enter global supply chains.
“If you really want to get the Australian space industry embedded into the global space industry, you need what’s called space heritage, in what in the lingo we would call TRL (Technology Readiness Level) 8 and TRL 9,” Mr Gilmour told InnovationAus.com in September.
“The only way to get 30 companies in Australia with space heritage is to collaborate with them to put their components either on a launch vehicle that goes into space, or a satellite that goes into space,” he said.
“Once you’ve gone into space, every one of those companies can then say ‘My product worked in space.’ That’s exactly how the global space market works. It’s the currency of the global space sector.”
Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.