Two space-related projects have been selected for funding in the latest round of the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grants, which support short-term collaborative research activities.
These were announced by Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews, who said $289 million in funding has been committed to CRC-Ps since 2016, building on the government’s plan to strengthen Australian industry and create 1.25 million new jobs in the next five years.
The first space project grant of $2.85 million went to Liquid Instruments, the Australian National University (ANU) and EOS Space Systems, which are developing next-generation test and measurement devices for photonics sensing.
“This project will commercialise advanced test and measurement technology to enable high-performance optics and photonics sensing for industrial, education and defence applications,” the grant announcement said.
“It will enhance the competitiveness of Liquid Instruments and EOS Space Systems in global markets. Optical technologies are transforming a range of industries.
“Today, Australia's ground water is monitored by a satellite laser system. Soon, high-power laser systems will defend airports against drones, autonomous cars will use laser ranging systems and laser communications will provide a deep-space internet and globally accessible, secure military communications. These sensing technologies will unlock access to $100 billion global markets for Australian companies.”
The overall project is worth $7.78 million and will run for three years.
The second, worth $3 million, went to Gilmour Space Technologies, The Trustee for the Teakle Composites Trust and University of Southern Queensland for the manufacture of lightweight rocket fuel tanks.
That’s intended to make access to space more affordable.
The three organisations will develop composite rocket fuel tanks for low-cost space transport, and will manufacture composite fuel tanks up to two metres in diameter and trial them in rocket flights.
“The project will demonstrate the critical technologies in manufacturing linerless, filament wound composite tanks for liquid oxygen,” the announcement said.
“The consortium will manufacture cryogenic linerless composite fuel tanks up to two metres in diameter and trial them in rocket flights. The project outcomes will achieve up to 30 per cent weight savings and 25 per cent cost savings for Gilmour commercial rocket launch services.”
Gilmore Space founder and chief executive Adam Gilmour welcomed the federal government funding as the company prepares to launch its first commercial rocket to orbit in 2022.
“We are grateful to receive this funding, which will allow us to develop world-class composite materials and components for our orbital launch vehicles – making our rockets more efficient and reducing the cost of access to space,” he said.
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