The Australian launch manufacturing sector - comprising the development of civil rockets, test capability and launch facilities - is essential for creating a sovereign Space Industry.
Without launch capability it is arguable whether sovereign space capability really exists as we would need to rely on launch facilities in other countries to place our products into space. Sovereign launch and associated facilities were viewed in the 2018 Space National Manufacturing Priority road map as “high risk activity” and therefore were considered as part of “Phase 3 - Delivering Success 2021-2028”.
Since 2018, there has been considerable progress in Australia’s launch providers and launch facilities with three active commercial launch sites established and several others being proposed. Building a sovereign launch capability and its associated industrial and research and development ecosystem is critical to ensure the emerging payload technology manufacturers can access launch systems and capitalise on commercial opportunities, without competing with, or being dependent on, international space economies and launch facilities.
Australian launch and launch manufacturing companies are working on early stage and mid-TRL technologies. iLAuNCH is supporting these companies to accelerate to higher technology-readiness levels, build a complimentary supply chain and overcome commercialisation challenges. The development of the civil launch industry and associated supply chain is also of significant importance in supporting downstream activities in the related defence sector with sovereign guided weapon requirements.
Queensland, the home state of UniSQ, is an ideal location for iLAuNCH. It has already attracted rocket design and manufacturing companies and has the research and development capability and industry research collaborations needed to transform the industry. Technology areas being addressed by iLAuNCH include:
- Additive manufacturing
- Automated composite manufacturing
- High temperature materials manufacturing
- High speed/pressure analysis and design
- Rocket fuel manufacturing
- Launch vehicle component design and testing
- Static rocket test rig manufacturing
- Launch site development
Creating the necessary technologies with industry partners provides a manufacturing supply chain that is required to sustain this industry as it accelerates from mid-TRL companies through to launch-ready systems.