Griffith University’s Head of ICT, Professor Paulo de Souza, says a highly anticipated funding announcement by the federal government to build a space manufacturing and test hub on the Gold Coast presents an incredible opportunity for space fans, students, researchers and the emerging industry as a whole.
“This is brilliant news for Australian space manufacturing,” Professor de Souza said.
Gilmour Space Technologies has been awarded $52 million to work with a range of partners including Griffith, to create a manufacturing and test hub and an advanced manufacturing facility to produce launch vehicles and satellites. The funding is part of a larger pool of money dedicated by the Government towards the Australian Space Manufacturing Network (ASMN) of which Griffith is a partner.
The hub could be built in a year on a site between the Gold Coast and Brisbane and once up and running, Professor de Souza says it will need Griffith’s help to staff operations.
“The number of jobs expected from this hub would be around 850,” he explained.
“These people don’t currently exist as professionals, and we need to train them, so this is an incredibly exciting opportunity that’s been offered to us, in many ways. Our graduates can be trained in a real world setting and be immersed in an industry of the future.
“Already, we have students, PhD students, for example, currently working at Gilmour. That link between us is already very strong and will grow exponentially with this initiative.
Of the 850 new roles to be created, 350 will likely be so-called space manufacturers, fulfilling highly skilled engineering and technical roles.
Professor de Souza says these opportunities will put the region on the map as Australia’s space industry booms.
“For our students and graduates, they can study and work right here on the Gold Coast, they don’t need to go to the United States to work in space,” he said.
“That opportunity will attract students from all over the country to come to both gain a degree with Griffith and an opportunity to work in the industry while doing it.
“Funding for infrastructure is the first step, but Gilmour need people, qualified professionals, for this industry to truly emerge.”
“Australia’s space sector has already taken leaps and bounds and is globally recognised. The race is on in the $600 billion global space economy and the Australian Space Manufacturing Network will help cement the incredible opportunities for local companies to be part of the excitement of launch,” Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said.
“From testing to manufacture, to assembly and finally launch, this project will harness great Aussie know-how to attract further private investment and create hundreds of high-skilled and high-value jobs. This is a big win for Queensland jobs.
“Through the work of the Australian Space Agency we already know that space technologies are playing an increasingly important role on earth, supporting navigation systems which draw on them in our cars and smartphones and by farmers to monitor the health of their crops.”
Griffith and Gilmour are currently partnering on several initiatives, including the launch of a cube satellite, set for October.