Wolfpack Space Hub, an incubator based in Sydney, will receive $500,000 in funding to support the growth of space manufacturing start-ups. The funds are part of the Entrepreneurs Australia incubators grant, matched by partners Saber Astronautics and TCG Corporation.
“This is a different program from anything you’ve seen in Australia before,” Saber Astronautics’ CEO Dr. Jason Held explains. “Many excellent incubators know how to build downstream services startups. And that is good business for Australia. But flight is where you get the best advantage because you get to own the supply. Those who build the road set the toll.”
The global space industry is a $420Billion market, expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2040. Australia has seen nearly 100 new space companies founded and many academic programs reaching for the stars. One of the barriers to space is achieving flight so some Australian space startups hesitate to join the industry, often pivoting to data and sensors companies instead re-selling overseas products.
Wolfpack supports new ventures developing sovereign spaceflight capabilities with on-site expertise, supporting their flight ambitions, and allowing them to set the price and quality of their products, competing on an even footing with the global market.
The Wolfpack Space Hub connects space start-ups directly with Australian national infrastructure. Saber Astronautics runs the Mission Control Centre at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide, funded by the Australian Space Agency’s Space Infrastructure Fund (SIF), and is a supplier to the National Space Test Facilities (NSTF) led by Australian National University. The Wolfpack Space Hub will seek technical interfaces that allow sharing between companies that would normally compete. It will also build a cadre of Australian space suppliers.
That collaboration is just as important as the technology, “This is the most inclusive, open, and progressive project we’ve ever done,” said Dr Held. “Startups that would normally compete are instead supporting each other directly. They join each other’s proposals, share information, and help each other out in ways we haven’t seen elsewhere.”
The program recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) and is supporting the satellite “rideshare” Waratah Seed space qualification mission which was funded by the NSW government. Wolfpack Space Hub will work with both organisations to spin out new startups.
The Wolfpack Space Hub also signed a collaboration agreement with the US based Center for Space Commerce and Finance, to give Hub members exposure to the US investor market.