4 mins read 04 Oct 2019

Australian Space Start-Ups Gain New Support Company

The Australian space start-up scene is really heating up - and now, a new company has been established to help support this further.

Artist illustration of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, AIRS orbiting above Earth. Credit: NASA.

A new company has been created by the SmartSat CRC to support and develop Australian-based space industry start-ups, allowing the smaller players in the market to gain equal footing with some of the larger, more established organisations in the sector. 

The SmartSat CRC created a company – Australian Space Industry Start-up Company (ASISC) – to give its smallest members a voice and more opportunities to participate in SmartSat CRC projects and activities.

ASISC will become a collective Core Partner in the CRC and start-ups will be given free company “membership” for the first 12 months to assess the value of being part of a larger entity. To begin with, however, ASISC is in the process of setting up its board comprised of its startup members.

“The start-ups are the ones we’re trying to motivate to drive growth in the space sector and SmartSat CRC’s prime objective is to grow the space industry so we really need to make sure we’re hearing from them about what their issues and challenges are as part of the CRC,” said SmartSat CRC Industry Director Peter Nikoloff.

“Because we’ve got so many it’s quite difficult to manage them individually so by establishing one company it gives them the experience to work on the board of a bigger organisation but the chair of the board will be the voice for all of them so we’ve got one point of contact.

“We need to be looking at the complete ecosystem – not just what the big players are doing. The start-ups are so important because a whole lot of investment is coming into the country via these start-ups that are starting to kick goals and that allows them to employ more people and we want to get that cycle going.”

SmartSat CRC

The SmartSat CRC is a consortium of universities and other research organisations, partnered with industry that has been funded by the Australian Government to develop know-how and technologies in advanced telecommunications and IoT connectivity, intelligent satellite systems and Earth observation next-generation data services.

The $245 million SmartSat CRC’s 99 industry and research partners include 13 global companies, 20 Australian companies, 17 universities, and more than 40 start-ups.

Working With Australian Space Agency

“As the CRC goes forward, one of the things the Agency will do is continually inform the market about the opportunities we’re seeing so we can go forward as an industry together and show the world our best ideas and technologies to grow and transform our space sector here in Australia,” said Australian Space Agency Deputy Head Anthony Murfett.

"The Australian Space Agency would work closely with SmartSat CRC in several areas such as communications, Earth observation, improving GPS resolution, space situational awareness and future leapfrog R&D projects," said Murfett.

The SmartSat CRC is situated inside the same building that the Australian Space Agency's Mission Control Centre and Space Discovery Centre, at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide, sharing its prime location with other Australian space industry start-ups Myriota, Neumann Space and Inovor.

“We are in a very unique position, as a national program to help support new space start-ups in landing pads across the nation. Our coalition of the best universities, research organisations and industry with significant space know-how and infrastructure” said SmartSat CRC CEO-designate Professor Andy Koronios.

“That means that we can become a one-stop-shop for collaboration with other countries. Our mission is to become one of the space R&D powerhouses in the region,” he said.