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Business involvement to the fore in new Trailblazer programme

Manufacturing News

While the university sector has dominated news of those to benefit from the federal government’s Trailblazer Universities Program, industry involvement is becoming increasingly obvious and transformational.

iLAUNCH hub, involving the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), the Australian National University (ANU) and UniSA, has now revealed details of industry research partnerships to be funded under the $50 million collaboration announced earlier this week.

With funding topped by the three universities and industry partners, it is hoped the hub and partner businesses will drive the commercialisation of space research in Australia.

UniSA Industry Associate Professor Colin Hall will lead the South Australian node of the hub, hosting three projects involving five industry partners and valued at $20 million over four years.

The university has teamed up with additive manufacturing specialists Amaero, automotive components manufacturer SMR Australia and Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG) to build compact optical systems for satellites.

Professor Hall said: “This will result in a ‘satellite selfie stick’, improving ground observation and communications with earth.”

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

Working closely with defence manufacturer Electro Optic Systems (EOS), UniSA will also manufacture laser mirrors and filters that can handle high-powered lasers, reducing Australia’s reliance on overseas suppliers, and speeding up manufacturing time.

All projects will be supported by CSIRO through additional funding.

It is estimated that the new hub will generate more than $3.65 billion in economic benefits across Australia through the creation of space engineering jobs.

Professor Hall said the project would 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.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for us, and our industry partners, to commercialise 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.”

Picture: Trailblazer Universities Program

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