The University of South Australia is set to play a major part in a national space manufacturing initiative aimed at driving the commercialisation of space research in Australia.

iLAUNCH will be led by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), with UniSA, the Australian National University (ANU) and more than 20 industry partners involved.

UniSA’s Industry Associate Professor Colin Hall will lead the South Australian node of iLAUNCH, which will play host to three core projects involving local industry partners.

Manufacturing specialists Amaero, SMR Australian and the Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG) will work with UniSA to develop 3D printed materials to build compact optical systems for satellites such as a ‘satellite selfie stick’ that improves ground observation and communication with earth. The groundwork of this project was developed last year through the Defence Innovation Partnership’s Collaborative Research Fund.

Meanwhile, QPE Advanced Machining will also set up a 3D printing facility with UniSA to produce lightweight satellite components using the latest electron beam melting technology used to print turbine blades for jet aircraft.

The university will also work with Electro Optic Systems (EOS) to manufacture laser mirrors and filters that can handle high-powered lasers to reduce national reliance upon overseas suppliers.

“This project will support university staff to commercialise their research and strengthen collaborations with industry, both of which are necessary to build a sovereign space capability in Australia,” said Associate Professor Hall.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us, and our industry partners, to commercialised technology to grow Australia’s space manufacturing capability.

“Together with USQ and ANU, we will cement Australia’s reputation as a major player on the global space stage.”

The Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications and Hypersonics (iLAUNCH) Hub is supported through the Trailblazer Universities Program.

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