Adelaide will be home to a new manufacturing hub for spacetech companies

- December 8, 2021 4 MIN READ
Fleet space
Fleet co-founders Flavia Tata Nardini and Matt Pearson
A new manufacturing hub for space technology companies is being established in Adelaide.

The South Australian government is partnering with four local startups, on the purpose-built facility, the Australian Space Park, to develop the project with a focus on collaboration and production of small satellites and their payloads, rockets, electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL), and supporting componentry and technical systems.

The founding tenants are nano-satellite maker Fleet Space Technologies, two Sydney startups: quantum technologies developer Q-CTRL and rocket producer ATSpace, as well as Alauda Aeronautics, the company behind the electric flying racing car for the Airspeeder racing series.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said the government will invest $20 million in the Australian Space Park, which is anticipated to create around 220 space industry roles within its first two years of operation.

The Australian Space Agency and Mission Control already based in Adelaide, and Marshall said the Australian Space Park will boost space manufacturing capability and capacity.

“The creation of the Australian Space Park signals our commitment to the South Australian and Australian space sector by bridging the gap between research and development and prototyping to production at scale,” he said.

“The Hub aligns with Australia’s space strategy that aims to triple the space sector’s contribution to GDP to over $12 billion per annum and create up to an additional 20,000 jobs by 2030.

“It is fantastic to have four amazing companies partner with the South Australian Government on this initiative, with Fleet Space Technologies, Q-CTRL who we welcome to our state as they expand their Australian presence beyond New South Wales, ATSpace – a brand new Australian company and Alauda Aeronautics partnering and co-investing in the Australian Space Park to further develop the space value chain to meet the needs of satellite and rocket manufacturers.

“Having Q-CTRL and ATSpace establish in South Australia as part of this project provides further opportunities for collaboration and partnerships across the space sector.”


Adelaide airport plans

Discussions are underway with Adelaide Airport as a potential location for the park.

Airport managing director, Mark Young, said the Airport Business District offered excellent connectivity with national and international users.

“In addition to our central location, we offer suitable land opportunities both for the hub as well as room for growth and to attract like-minded businesses keen to play a role in the growing space sector,” he said.

CBD innovation precinct, Lot Fourteen is already home to a growing community of space companies.

Fleet Space Technologies CEO Flavia Tata Nardini said the park will be an important for Australia’s growing reputation for industry capability within the global space sector and advanced aerospace sectors.

“We are delighted to be part of a facility that is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere,” she said.

“Indeed, we are proud to be part of South Australia’s growing status as a centre of excellence for space technology on the global stage. The opportunity to collaborate with leading minds in our field in a dedicated facility like this will accelerate progress for our entire industry.”

Airspeeder racers

An artist’s impression of the factor floor at the Alauda Aeronautics factory producing the Airspeeder racers.

Critical for the sector

Q-CTRL founder and CEO Michael Biercuk said having an Australian space manufacturing hub is a critical need for the industry.

“There are enormous barriers to taking the terrestrial quantum technology Q-CTRL builds to orbit. This kind of public sector investment in infrastructure is exactly what we need to transform Australia’s lead in the quantum tech industry into a strategic global advantage in the space sector,” he said.

“One of the most exciting things we’re planning in terms of our growth is the development of new forms of satellites that leverage quantum technology to give us a new way of seeing the Earth.
“South Australia is a fantastic place for our space ambitions to be realised because of the partnerships we have locally, and we are very excited to add a new facility in Adelaide. Our partners at FleetSpace, Alauda, and ATSPACE are the right partners for us to take our technology to orbit and beyond.”
Biercuk said the Q-CTRL team will be building satellite payloads that take the core quantum sensing hardware they’ve developed and ensure it’s space-qualified for launch to orbit.
“What excites us the most about the space sector right now is the way that companies like mine that have never had access to space all of a sudden have the ability to take our core technology to orbit to the Moon and Mars,” he said.
“This is something that’s never been possible before, and it’s supported by initiatives just like the this one.”
Matt Pearson, who co-founded Fleet with Nardini, also is the founder of Airspeeder and Alauda, which is building the eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) racers. The Airspeeder series is due to begin next year

“As our first electric flying car Grand Prix races draw nearer, we are proud to establish the world’s first purpose built facility for the production of these pioneering racing vehicles,” he said.

“South Australia is rapidly becoming a global centre of excellence in the development of advanced space and advanced aerospace technologies, placement at this facility will create world-class opportunities for collaboration with companies at the cutting-edge of their respective fields. This in turn will rapidly accelerate a mobility revolution and place Adelaide on the map as a world-class centre of innovation.”

The Alauda technical leadership team drawn from Ferrari, McLaren, Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls-Royce, Boeing and Airbus.

More on the Australian Space Park is available here.

An artist’s impression of the Australian Space Park

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