Black Sky Aerospace scores funding to support rocket capabilities

The commonwealth government has awarded funding to Brisbane-based Black Sky Aerospace, aimed at supporting the local manufacture of defence and space capability.

Black Sky Aerospace scores funding to support rocket capabilities
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Black Sky Aerospace has secured just under $500,000 as part of a co-investment via the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) managed Commercialisation Fund. 

The company is against several others competing to claim the first sovereign launch capabilities in Australia, such as South Australia's Southern Launch and Queensland's Gilmour Space Technologies. 

The grant is expected to fund Black Sky’s work to manufacture the materials required to develop solid rocket motors for its sovereign space and defence projects.  

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Black Sky CEO Blake Nikolic welcomed the funding, noting the importance of building a local manufacturing hub.

“We identified early that we were having to import significant amounts of the materials needed to make propellant for our solid rocket motors,” Nikolic said. 

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“The grant announced today will mean we can make the precursor materials – or the compounds required for the solid fuel  here in Australia.

“That means all the required materials can be 100 per cent sovereign sourced and manufactured, allowing us to meet Australia’s needs, with huge export potential too.”

The news comes only months after Black Sky fired a rocket from its private test and launch site near Goondiwindi in southern Queensland in November 2021aimed at providing the company with key test and evaluation (T&E) data to support its development of sovereign space-launch capability. 

AMGC managing director Dr Jens Goennemann said the collaboration is a demonstration of Australia’s manufacturing potential.

“Until recently, Australia did not possess a sovereign capability to manufacture solid state rockets, let alone the fuel,” Goennemann said.

“Now with the assistance of AMGC, Black Sky Aerospace can manufacture the rockets, the fuel and the precursor ingredients onshore providing for an entirely new civil, defence and space capability.”

Nikolic added: “Without all the necessary ingredients for the propellant, including precursor chemicals and compounds, Australia has been having to import propellant as part of its missile systems.

“This grant will allow us to develop the processes, procedures and know-how to turn materials sourced in Australia into solid rocket fuel for both space and defence applications.”

In November, Black Sky Aerospace fired a rocket from its private test and launch site near Goondiwindi in southern Queensland, aimed at providing the company with key test and evaluation (T&E) data to support its development of sovereign space-launch capability. 

According to the company, the Sighter 150 rocket flew to an altitude of almost 30,000 feet in less than 30 seconds, carrying a software payload for Australian cyber security company BITSCore.

This was the third in a series of T&E rocket launches testing Black Sky’s in-house avionics and telemetry systems.

The company also tested a missile motor as part of its push to support the Commonwealth government’s sovereign weapons program.

This article is courtesy of Defence Connect. 

Isabella Richards

Isabella Richards

Bella Richards is a journalist who has written for several local newspapers, her university newspaper and a tech magazine, and completed her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney in 2020. She joined Momentum Media in 2021, and has since written breaking news stories across Space Connect, Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

You can email Bella on: [email protected]

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