SA space grants to pull in global partners

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Grants up to $100,000 will be on offer later this month for South Australian-based startups and small businesses to work with international partners on low-cost access to space or spaceflight technologies.

The state’s space centre will provide competitive funding through a new Space Collaboration and Innovation Fund if the international space company provides some of the matched cash or in-kind funding with the smaller local firms.

Most of the overall project effort must take place in South Australia and have an emphasis ‘NewSpace’ technologies – the typically private space development beyond the areas of civil space endeavours.

Some South Australian firms like Southern Launch are already working with international firms

The first round with two grants is opening this month for projects focused on proof-of-concept or delivery of space capability and have a clear commercial pathway.

The state government support follows the signing of a space technology treaty late last year that has caused concerns in parts of the local industry could suffer under restrictions that limit local development.

But two of the state’s local launch companies backed the national deal and could be eligible for the state support after already working with international firms.

The state fund, announced Thursday, is part of the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC) that was established in 2017 by the Weatherill government to drive space industry innovation, research and entrepreneurial development.

SASIC is collaborating on the fund with South Australia’s Defence Innovation Partnership, a cohort of Defence SA, Defence Science and Technology and the state’s three major universities.

South Australia’s deputy premier and minister for defence and space industries Susan Close said the fund will support the rapid transition of space technology to operational use while growing the local industry through international collaboration.

“International partnerships are a key driver of space technology development. They also support growth in the sector by enabling our local technology increased access to national and international markets,” she said.

“South Australia is incredibly forward-thinking when it comes to space, and this Fund supports technology development that will drive benefits across the broader economy and allied areas beyond the space sector.”

It is unclear how much funding will be on offer in future rounds of the Space Collaboration and Innovation Fund.

Applications for round one open April 15 and close May 17. An online information session will be held on April 23. Recipients are expected to be notified in June.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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