The first tranche of grants under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative’s Integration and Translation streams has been announced, with four companies awarded federal funding for space-related projects.
Space was the first of the six National Manufacturing Priority sectors to accept applications, with the February opening timed to coincide with the landing of NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover. Grants cover co-funding of up to 50 per cent of project costs.
The largest grant announced on Tuesday went to Romar Engineering, which was awarded $5.8 million to manufacture and deploy space fluid and motion control products for future space missions.
Romar is a contract manufacturer perhaps best known for its work in specialty plastics for medical applications. Founded in 1968, its history includes helping make Resmed’s first facemasks in the 1990s.
The other three successful applicants were
- EffusionTech — awarded $1.2 million to develop and manufacture low cost, durable and high performance liquid fuelled rocket engines for commercial launch use;
- Titomic — awarded $2.3 million to commercialise the manufacture of space vehicle and satellite parts using “green titanium”; and
- Q-CTRL — awarded $4.5 million to expand its manufacture of novel remote sensing payloads for space deployment.
Sydney-based quantum technology startup Q-CTRL CEO Michael Biercuk told @AuManufacturing: “This Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) project is a great example of how the team at Q-CTRL is translating decades of science into a valuable business, focused on building the most advanced remote sensing technology in the world.
“We’re excited to begin building a new type of quantum-enhanced sensor for magnetic fields compatible with operation in space -this will give us a new set of eyes on the Earth to directly improve mining productivity, and give defence a totally new tool for gathering geospatial intelligence.”
A statement from industry minister Christian Porter said the translation and integration stream MMI grants would be made soon for the Medical Products and Resources Technology and Critical Minerals sectors, followed by the other three priority sectors.
It also said that funding available for the initial round increased from $140 million to $200 million, due to “the positive response from industry and strength of applications.”
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