Four space start-ups from interstate, Japan and India touched down in South Australia to join Venture Catalyst Space – the highly regarded commercial space accelerator program delivered by University of South Australia’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC).

Founded in 2018, the Venture Catalyst Space program is supported by South Australian Government funding through the South Australian Space Industry Centre. The program has so far helped 36 businesses on their trajectory from early-stage space start-ups to globally scalable enterprises, raising $31 million in additional investments and grants and creating 220 new space jobs to date.

The program has a strong history of connecting space start-up founders with a pool of industry experts including NASA, the Australian Space Agency and Defence SA.

Minister for Defence and Space Industries Stephen Mullighan commended the Venture Catalyst Space program for its pivotal role in accelerating the state’s space economy.

“One of South Australia’s key priorities is to ensure a pipeline of startup and scaleup space companies with strong investment potential,” said Minister Mullighan.

“The Venture Catalyst Space program is generating genuine economic benefits for South Australia, helping realise the state’s potential as a space innovation and technology incubation destination.”

The 2024 program welcomes participants from Adelaide-based KC Research & Solutions, Victoria-based RapidBeam, Zharfire from Tokyo and Onnes Cryogenics from India, with UniSA Deputy Director: Business Incubation Craig Jones adding that this year’s cohorts represent diversity and disruption in industry.

“Year on year, the program attracts talent that breaks the mould and reinforces South Australia’s acumen for supporting cutting-edge commercial space ventures,” said Mr Jones.

“We’re talking out-of-the-box concepts like mobile insulin production in space to treat the health impacts of microgravity on astronauts and next-generation fuel tanks for spacecraft made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic—concepts that have potential to move space innovation into new realms while having real-world impact here on Earth.”

KC-Research & Solutions Founder Tiffanwy Klippel-Cooper shared that while the company’s vision of delivering mobile insulation production in space is bold, it will be worth it.

“Innovation is like mountaineering; you can’t see the end, and you feel like you’re getting nowhere, but the view when you reach the top gives it meaning.”

The program features a four-week induction by leading industry experts and runs for a six-month period from 27 May.

The announcement follows the recent launch of the 2024 Growth Ramp space pathway program – also hosted by the University of South Australia. The six-month program supports space companies with between five-11 employees who are ready to scale.

Find out more about the Venture Catalyst Space cohort.