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Applications open for $1m supply chain grants

Australian businesses can now apply for grants of up to $1 million to fund projects that support the space supply chain.

Submissions for the Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants program will close on Tuesday, 16 July and can cover 75 per cent of eligible project expenditure.

The initiative is ultimately designed to support NASA’s plan to return humans to the Moon before going onward to Mars, as well as grow Australia’s local industry.

The Australian Space Agency said the grants – which start from $250,000 and are now in their 11th round – aimed to help businesses develop “cutting-edge technologies”.


It includes developing a product from an adjacent industry, improving an existing product to meet supplier standards for an international space company, or helping to buy, lease, construct, install or commission equipment.

It comes after Space Connect reported how 12 businesses shared more than $9 million in funding during the last round of the program.

Vyom Tech’s award of $250,000 to help develop its ‘Kosmosuit’ came alongside sums of $1 million for major space sector players Neumann and Quickstep.

The awards program described Vyom Tech’s Kosmosuit as an “integrated spacesuit platform” with applications in extreme environments.


“The project aims to establish connectivity between the suit’s subsystems and the proprietary bioastronautics interface, which will be deployed at the Saber Responsive Space Operations Centre,” it said.

Neumann Space’s grant, meanwhile, will be used to develop a new electric propulsion manufacturing facility, while Human Aerospace’s project will spin in commercial 3D body scanning technologies to space.

Enrico Palermo, head of the Australian Space Agency, said the projects showcased the “agility and innovative nature” of Australia’s space companies.

“Space is a global endeavour, and by working with our partners like NASA, we can create outcomes that benefit Australia while also contributing to solutions to global challenges.”

The Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants program is part of the wider Moon to Mars initiative that will invest $150 million over five years to grow Australia’s space sector.

Previous ground grant winners in full:

High Earth Orbit Robotics, $742,164

Next Generation, Australian Space Based Telescopic Camera Production

The project supports NSW-based High Earth Orbit Robotics Pty Ltd in developing advanced cameras for imaging satellites from satellites in space. These cameras will support various applications such as monitoring space debris, surveillance of space objects and ensuring the safe and sustainable use of space. The funding will strengthen Australian sovereign manufacturing of aerospace-grade equipment and open up international supply chain opportunities.

Neumann Space, $1,000,000

Australian Spacecraft Electric Propulsion Manufacturing Capability

The project will enable Neumann Space to locally develop (in South-Australia) a world-class spacecraft electric propulsion manufacturing and test facility, unique in Australia, to support national and international space missions. This will enhance the Australian industry capability and capacity to meet the growing supply chain demands in the domestic and international space industry for Neumann Space’s patented pulsed Cathodic arc thruster technology.

Arlula, $427,500

Automated Data Normalisation and Processing for Satellite Imaging Programmes

Arlula is developing new technologies to standardise satellite imagery between different Earth Observation (EO) spacecraft. This will allow people to more effectively integrate the imagery in areas such as agriculture, mining and natural disaster management.

Quickstep Technologies, $1,000,000

Spacecraft Structural Panel Manufacturing Capability

Quickstep’s project will establish an advanced spacecraft sandwich composite structure manufacturing capability. This will enhance existing aerospace composite manufacturing expertise and enable the NSW-based Quickstep to develop and manufacture advanced composite structures for manned and unmanned spacecraft for supply into space supply chains and support NASA’s Moon to Mars ambitions. Near-term supply chain opportunities for this capability would have Quickstep-produced composite structures in geosynchronous orbit by 2027.

Human Aerospace, $493,799

Compression Garment and 3D Body Scanning Technology for Human Spaceflight

This project will spin in commercial 3D body scanning technologies to space, supporting the design, development, and manufacturing of compression garments. New knowledge of space physiology and deconditioning will be enabled, with improved countermeasures for future missions to maintain astronaut health. New terrestrial medical applications will also be realised, further bolstering innovation and international supply chain opportunities for VIC based Human Aerospace.

P.W.R. Performance Products, $985,000

Micro Matrix Heat Exchangers for Space (MMX-S)

The project will support Australian-based PWR Performance Products Pty Ltd (PWR) to develop and manufacture their proprietary Micro Matrix Heat Exchanger (MMX) for space applications. The PWR brand is globally recognised for their cutting-edge thermal management products, which are currently used in Formula 1, Aerospace and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) automotive. PWR’s MMX technology has been proven in these sectors and variants of the technology present a large opportunity for global export when used in complex thermal management systems for spacecraft and supporting platforms. PWR will optimise materials and processes to advance Technology Readiness Level (TRL) to ensure MMX resilience in extreme environmental and thermal conditions, suitable for critical support systems in space.

Nextaero, $1,000,000

Cryogenic Hydrogen and Methane R&D Capability for Spacecraft

The project will support Victorian-based NextAero to meet the needs of national and international space customers who require capability in advanced fuels, such as liquid hydrogen and methane. It will enable the design, manufacture and validation of cutting-edge fuel systems that are predicted to be central to next generation high-performance and sustainable spacecraft and rocket systems. The project will enhance an Australian owned commercial propulsion testing capability that brings international R&D work to Australia and also generates spin-off opportunities for clean energy solutions based on hydrogen.

Valiant Space, $841,875

Enabling Production of Sovereign Solenoid Valves for Space

The grant will support Valiant Space to address the growing space supply chain demand for reliable and high-quality fluid control components. In particular, the project will see the expansion of design tailoring, advanced manufacturing, and qualification capabilities for the company’s Coaxial Solenoid Valve products. This will culminate in a wide range of space qualified fluid control solutions that meet customer’s supply chain needs, for use in both domestic and international space missions.

Quantx Labs, $532,222

Manufacturing facility for space-based, photonic technologies

SA-based QuantX will establish a hybrid advanced manufacturing facility for cutting edge and innovative photonics manufacturing in Australia. The facility and processes built will support in-country manufacturing of quantum capable, precision timing and sensing systems that are miniaturised and reliable. These systems are critical to support time keeping, sensing and navigation in space and on Earth.

Vyom Tech, $250,000

Kosmosuit: Integrated Commercial Spacesuit Platform (ICSP)

This project is intended to improve the technology readiness level of the Kosmosuit, an integrated spacesuit platform with applications in extreme environments across multiple sectors. The project aims to establish connectivity between the suit’s subsystems and the proprietary bioastronautics interface, which will be deployed at the Saber Responsive Space Operations Centre. The project builds an internal automated capability that further enhances the space suit production capacity.

Gilmour Space Technologies, $808,500

Sovereign Space Avionics: GNSS Receiver

QLD-based Gilmour Space, in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, will co-develop an Australian made aerospace-grade Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver suitable for a range of civil, commercial and defence applications, e.g., for position, navigation and timing. The GNSS receiver is a proven technology success story from UNSW that will benefit from Gilmour’s advanced space manufacturing expertise and commercialisation efforts.

Valiant Space, $934,500

Expanding Australia’s Sovereign In-space Propulsion Capability

Non-toxic propulsion systems are critical for sustainable and responsible use of space. This grant will enable Valiant Space to mature its expanded line of non-toxic thrusters, designed to support space missions from CubeSats to large interplanetary spacecraft. The development will also serve to enhance Australia’s sovereign space manufacturing capability to compete and collaborate in the international market.

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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