Four South Australian space companies were among the seven innovative startups to graduate from the University of South Australia’s global space program, Venture Catalyst Space at an event held on 13 September.

Now in its fifth year, the Venture Catalyst Space program is run by UniSA’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre, and has established itself as a successful launchpad for space startups, attracting the best space sector talent from around the world and locally to grow their ideas here in South Australia.

From eliminating space debris to boosting cybersecurity in orbit and educating the future space workforce, this year’s graduating cohort included an impressive list of companies contributing innovative ideas to improve the safety and sustainability of the space industry and helping to realise environmental benefits on Earth.

This year’s participants included local companies, Paladin Space, AICRAFT, Robinson Aerospace Systems and Team 3. They were joined by international participants Guerin Technologies (India), Metaspectral (Canada) and SkySpec (New Zealand/Japan).

UniSA’s Deputy Director of Business Incubation, Craig Jones, said the program continued to be a driving force behind innovation in the space sector.

“During the 2023 program, we’ve seen this cohort gain international media attention, connect with the biggest players in the space industry and find their first customers,” he said.

“We’re proud to empower these space innovators to scale their businesses and continue to build a program that supports revolutionary ideas that continue to make a huge impact in the growing space industry.”

The Venture Catalyst Space Program supports global space startups to scale up, enter the commercial space market and validate their technology. As part of the program, each company receives a completely tailored package including access to UniSA resources, a global network of industry experts, capability workshops, one-on-one mentoring and access to a supportive community throughout the program.

Since it began in 2018, the program has supported 36 startups and 72 founders, which have gone on to raise more than $30 million in additional funding.

Founder of Paladin Space, Harrison Box, said the connection to industry and supportive community offered through the program, had made a big difference in their company’s progress.

“Since the start of the program, we’ve started building a prototype and have been introduced to nearly the entire space community in Australia which is fantastic,” he said.

“This program turns what you have as an idea, into something tangible and real. It is novel and different, providing the support and clear steps needed to have something tangible for investors with an unbelievable support network.

“Having the camaraderie under the one roof is inspiring and motivating to keep going. You don’t find that easily.”

The South Australian Government through SASIC is a proud supporter of the Venture Catalyst Space Program, which is building critical capability and growing investment and know-how in the state’s space economy.