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Aussie boost to civil space market

Australian tech companies have been given a boost in an effort to capitalise on the growing civil space exploration market.

Four space companies will share in nearly $14 million in funding from the federal government, designed to put Aussie manufacturers on the map globally.

Industry Minister Christian Porter said the funding would go towards the development of an array of space-related technologies, ranging from satellites and components in sensors, to rocket engines.

“These grants will help bolster Australia’s reputation in the growing global civil space industry and build on the important work being led by our Australian Space Agency,” Mr Porter said.

Rocket engine designer EffusionTech was among the winners after it was allocated $1.2 million to develop and manufacture low-cost, durable and high-performance liquid-fuelled rocket engines for the growing commercial launch market.

Australia was one of the last OECD countries to create a dedicated space agency, when the Australian Space Agency was formed in 2018.

In 2012, Australia made it into the Space Competitiveness Index top 10 for the first time, overtaking Brazil for the 10th spot.

Space technology is a far broader industry than just human spaceflight.

According to the Australian Space Agency, space technology and services include agricultural crop management, emergency bushfire tracking and self-driving mining vehicles.

The Australian Space Agency was allocated $13.3 million over the next four years in the 2021 federal budget.

“Space is the new frontier for modern manufacturing” Mr Porter said after this announcement, adding that the space industry was essential to agriculture and transport services.

Australia is not alone in splashing out on its local space industry.

Since 2016, government funding and development in the space industry has surged globally, according to global consulting firm Euroconsult.

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