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iLAuNCH opens second funding round

The iLAuNCH collaboration has invited businesses to apply for its second round of grants to fund space research.

Companies have until Monday, 20 November 2023, to bid and the team will host an online information session on Wednesday, 1 November. To find out more, click here.

The $180-million iLAuNCH trailblazer is a partnership between academic institutions and more than 20 industry partners aimed at accelerating the development of the space manufacturing sector.

New iLAuNCH projects must be undertaken with one of three partner universities: the University of Southern Queensland, the Australian National University or the University of South Australia.


They also need to be in one of its “core commercialisation” project areas that include:

  • Additive manufacturing
  • Material processing and advanced materials
  • Hypersonics and flight diagnostics
  • Rocket launch; rocket manufacturing
  • Satellites, communications and sensors
  • Advanced technologies for aerospace and space applications

“The iLAuNCH Trailblazer is a $180-million program to transform Australia’s competitiveness by rapidly commercialising university research through industry partnerships. Our efforts directly enhance Australia’s burgeoning space industry,” said executive director Darin Lovett.

“We have already brought together a powerful consortium of industry and research partners focusing on developing advanced technologies for space and aerospace manufacturing applications, including associated manufacturing supply chains.

“iLAuNCH commercialisation projects aim to elevate the technology readiness level (TRL) of research projects to commercial-ready applications, foster pathways to market, and ultimately propel Australia’s space and aerospace industries to profitability.”


It comes after Space Connect reported earlier this month how iLAuNCH’s next project would see it try to develop light, radiation-proof coatings for low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

The organisation hopes its work with start-up New Frontier Technologies would ultimately bring down the cost of launch, given payloads are usually billed per kilogram of weight by launch providers.

Lovett said he hoped the new collaboration would develop protective coatings for carbon composite components that are deployed in space for long durations.

“We are developing world-class sovereign manufacturing capability that is cost competitive and utilises the latest advancements in materials – vital for realising the full potential of an Australian space manufacturing industry,” he said.

The coatings have to balance saving weight with being able to withstand a range of environmental hazards experienced in LEO, such as UV irradiation, atomic oxygen, and space debris.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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