Cicada Innovations to run $2.1 million National Space Industry Hub

The New South Wales government has chosen deep tech incubator Cicada Innovations to run its $2.1 million National Space Industry Hub.

The hub will be based at Sydney’s Tech Central — a precinct that Premier Gladys Berejiklian has previously compared to Silicon Valley.

Jobs, investment, tourism and Western Sydney minister Stuart Ayres said the National Space Industry Hub would connect industry with researchers, by housing the Space Industry Association of Australia and the NSW Node of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre.

“NSW is home to more than a third of Australian space startups, well-established research infrastructure and world-class universities. There is no better place to research, develop and commercialise space technology,” Ayres said.

“This further builds on the recent NSW Government investment of $1.4 million to establish the NSW Space Research Network, a group that will also be anchored at the Hub and help to progress collaboration and efforts across the industry. This is another step we are taking to ensure that NSW is the capital of space industry in Australia.”

Hub participants will have access to free online commercialisation training programs, industry events, mentors, short-term acceleration, and affordable long-term incubation, the government noted. On-site facilities with accessible secure labs, clean rooms, and rapid prototyping facilities will also be available.

Cicada Innovations was selected to operate the hub following an extensive application and review process. Its chief executive, Sally-Ann Williams, said the incubator offered custom facilities, as well as specialised facilities through its shareholder universities, Australian National University, University of Sydney, University of NSW, and University of Technology Sydney.

“This includes the UTS Tech Lab, USYD’s aerospace, mechanical and mechatronic facilities, and ANU’s heavy ion accelerator,” she said.

“Housing the National Space Industry Hub will allow us to create a home for emerging space ventures in NSW. More importantly, we’ll offer these resources, mentoring opportunities and vital connections nationally through continued collaboration across the Australian space ecosystem for anyone on the path of creating a space tech venture.”

ANU InSpace director Professor Anna Moore said the hub would benefit university space research and ability.

“We’re excited to see the National Space Industry Hub connect industry partners and key players in the deep tech space ecosystem to ultimately grow Australia’s space economy, a goal we strive to achieve every day,” she said.

The hub will support NSW’s space industry ecosystem, encourage a ‘vibrant ecosystem of space companies’, and bolster connections with other industries, government and research institutions, according to the 2020 NSW Space Industry Development Strategy.

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