It is being handed to the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), who will work with two other institutions and several businesses to research and develop space technology under its new Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications and Hypersonics (iLAuNCH) Hub.
The collaborative hub will provide research and infrastructure to support rocket manufacturing, rocket launch and building components for satellites.
It comes alongside a slew of government investments into the space sector in recent months, especially in the wake of the upcoming election.
“The University of Southern Queensland is already a leader in space manufacturing with expertise in hypersonic propulsion systems, advanced materials, and astrophysics,” said vice-chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie.
“iLAuNCH Hub will improve Australia’s skills in the space sector, providing new jobs and boosting the economy, and also help ensure our country’s space expertise grows well into the future.”
The hub is expected to generate over $3.65 billion in economic benefits across the entire nation, according to the university.
“Our economic plan is supercharging Australia’s research and development, creating more jobs and helping to build a stronger economy and a stronger future,” said acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert.
“We are investing in new technology in our growing space industry and our booming agri-tech sector to create jobs around Australia, particularly in Queensland.”
Under the space investment, USQ will work with the Australian National University and the University of South Australia.
The funding towards space is part of a broader $100 million announced on Sunday, that will also benefit the food and beverage industry.
It is part of the overall University Trailblazer program, which was announced last November and is a national investment into the commercialisation of technology within defence, space, resource technology and several other industries.
University of Southern Queensland’s Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences executive director Professor Peter Schubel said the hub would address Australia’s need for fast-tracked manufacturing.
“The program will provide critical research, equipment and infrastructure in support of rocket manufacturing, rocket launch and in-space hardware such as satellites, communications and sensors,” Professor Schubel said.
He added that the funding would aid the development of a space engineering degree that will create a “pipeline of skilled, job-ready engineers”.
A major priority for Australia’s space industry is skills, and currently there is a major lack of available workforce, which may hinder the sector’s growth in the future.
But with this ongoing University Trailblazer program and the Moon to Mars initiative, working alongside NASA to develop a rover that can explore the lunar surface, it is expected there will be a major uptick of space careers.
This funding in particular is expected to create 2,400 new jobs in Queensland, according to the coalition.
“This Trailblazer funding is part of our plan for a stronger, sustainable and more prosperous regional Australia and means more jobs right here in Queensland, a stronger research and development sector and a stronger economy,” said Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education Bridget McKenzie.
The USQ handout is one of the final two Trailblazer’s to receive funding as part of the program. Days ago, Deakin University won the latest tranche of funding for clean energy.
In late April, The University of Adelaide and the University of New South Wales also received funding to fast-track track the development of 100 new defence products and capabilities, with a specific focus on autonomous technologies, hypersonics and high-frequency technologies.
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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