International Space Investment Expand Capability Grants

What is International Space Investment Expand Capability Grants?

The International Space Investment Expand Capability Grants provides Australian companies and research organisations with funding to unlock international opportunities for the Australian space sector.



The International Space Investment Initiative (the program) was announced as part of the Australian Technology and Science Growth Plan – growing the Australian space industry initiative in 2018. The program will run over three years from 2019-20 to 2021-22, providing Australian businesses with opportunities to become involved with international space agencies or established international space programs. Projects will generate employment and business opportunities for Australians, with a minimum of 80% of the investment to be made in Australia, for the benefit of Australian space industry firms.

The International Space Investment Initiative is delivered through two streams:

  • International Space Investment – Open Doors, targeting international space agency projects which will unlock opportunities for the Australian space sector
  • International Space Investment – Expand Capability, providing grants to build the capacity and capability of the Australian space sector and support jobs creation, and demonstrate the sector’s ability to successfully deliver space-related products and services internationally.



The objectives of the program are to:

  • unlock international space opportunities for the Australian space sector
  • expand the capability and capacity of the Australian space sector, and support job creation
  • demonstrate the Australian space sector’s ability to successfully deliver space-related products and services internationally
  • support projects which contribute to building a vision and an Australian space sector that inspires businesses, the Australian community and the next generation of space workforce, researchers and entrepreneurs.

The intended outcomes of the program are:

  • an increase in Australia’s reputation in the global space sector
  • an increase in the number and size of Australian businesses qualifying for access to opportunities with international space agencies
  • an increase in the number of Australian businesses winning contracts and successfully delivering products and services to international space agency programs directly, or indirectly through supply chains
  • an increase in investment and engagement from international space agencies, and their supply chains, in Australia
  • an increase in the number of jobs in the Australian space sector.



The Australian Government has announced a total of $15 million over three years for the International Space Investment Initiative. An estimated $11 million will be available for this grant opportunity.

The grant amount will be up to 100 percent of eligible project costs (the grant percentage).

  • The minimum grant amount is $100,000
  • The maximum grant amount is $4,000,000.

The remaining proportion of eligible project costs we consider your contribution. You can fund your contribution from any source, including State, Territory and local government grants. Your contribution must be cash.


Eligible Projects

You can apply for a grant for your project under more than one Commonwealth program, but if your application is successful, you must choose either the International Space Investment grant or the other Commonwealth grant.

Your project may require relevant approvals by the Australian Space Agency under the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 (e.g. an overseas payload permit to launch a space object overseas). Assessment under this Act will be conducted independently of your grant application.

Eligible activities may include:

  • research and development
  • product and service development
  • commercialising existing products and services
  • process design and engineering
  • buying, constructing, installing or commissioning of equipment or software
  • relevant training and skills development
  • collaboration and partnership development.

Other activities may also be approved.

You can only spend grant funds on eligible expenditure you have incurred on an agreed project as defined in your grant agreement.

  • For guidance on eligible expenditure, see appendix A of the guidelines
  • For guidance on ineligible expenditure, see appendix B of the guidelines


Eligible Applicants

To be eligible you must:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

and be one of the following entities:

  • a company, incorporated in Australia
  • a publicly funded research organisation (PFRO) as defined in section 14 of the guidelines

Joint applications are acceptable, provided you have a lead applicant who is the main driver of the project and is eligible to apply.

The program can only accept applications:

  • where you can provide evidence from your board (or chief executive officer or equivalent if there is no board) that the project is supported, and that you can complete the project and meet the costs of the project not covered by grant funding
  • where you have at least $100,000 in eligible expenditure
  • where you can certify that your project has links to international space agencies or their supply chains
  • where you can certify that a minimum of 80% of the investment will be made in Australia, for the benefit of Australian space industry firms.



Applications close 17 December 2019.


Current Recipients

The list of supported projects for the International Space Investment Expand Capability Grants.

ApplicantProject titleProject descriptionGrant amount (excluding GST)
Saber Astronautics Australia Pty LtdOSSO: The Open Source Space Operations infrastructureThe project will deliver open source software infrastructure for spacecraft operations. Australian small satellite developers all require software to connect satellites, payloads, and dish networks to mission control centres. Infrastructure is normally a bespoke or proprietary development and is a barrier to entry for new spacecraft teams. Open sourcing the infrastructure will allow Australians to learn lessons from each other, build on a community of success, and provide a framework for national improvement. The project’s reference mission is a $1.5 million planet hunting spacecraft from the Breakthrough Initiatives operated by Saber Astronautics’ Mission Control Centre in Sydney, and includes support to Australian made payloads in its 2022 launch.$788,792
University of MelbourneThe SpIRIT (Space Industry Responsive Intelligent Thermal) CubeSat missionThis project aims to grow Australian space industry capabilities through the development of an innovative nano-satellite. It involves a partnership between the University of Melbourne, Inovor Technologies, Sitael Australia, Nova Systems and Neumann Space, with support from the Italian and United Kingdom (in an advisory role) Space Agencies. SpIRIT will break new ground in high performance autonomous operations, communications, propulsion and thermal management, and be the first Australian-made spacecraft to host a foreign space agency payload, showcasing the competitiveness of Australia’s nano-satellite R&D and advanced manufacturing. The project will demonstrate the viability of Australian products in the global supply chain of satellite components, give hands-on training to grow a highly capable space-sector workforce, and inspire the public.$3,955,223
University of CanberraVertiSense-Mitigation of Sensorimotor Effects Of Simulated WeightlessnessThe project will develop countermeasures to mitigate the effects of weightlessness-induced sensorimotor disturbances following spaceflight. The University of Canberra will commercialise its sensorimotor research through the creation of a university spin-off company, Prism Neuro. This company will work with Australian industry partners elmTek and SRCHealth to address the NASA 2019 Human Exploration Research Opportunities priority. The project team have validated a novel system for assessing negative sensorimotor disturbances and subsequently developed a wearable countermeasure to mitigate problems. The project will enable the construction and deployment of the novel system and countermeasure for use at NASA and European Space Agency facilities. Commercial production of the operational sensorimotor assessment system by Prism Neuro will continue with the aim of addressing other opportunities in human spaceflight research, and also for other markets such as healthcare and sports performance, which will benefit all Australians.$432,494
Stamen Engineering Pty LtdDecision Support System for Collision Avoidance of Space ObjectsThe project will develop a better method to help satellite operators assess real risks to satellites from collisions. Collisions between operating satellites and space debris are a major concern in the space community. Collisions can be approximately predicted but the probability of collision is highly uncertain and it is costly to move a satellite. NASA’s Robotic Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis (CARA) is responsible for protecting all NASA satellites from catastrophic collisions. CARA has developed a concept for a Decision Support System (DSS) to assist satellite operators make collision avoidance decisions. This project will develop the concept into an operational tool, enabling operators to make collision avoidance decisions with greater certainty and speed.$217,821
Raytracer Pty LtdUnderwater Virtual Reality Training Simulations for AstronautsThe project will contribute to the development of the world’s first underwater virtual reality training simulator for astronaut and human space exploration training. The technology will allow private space companies and government organisations to develop accurate, safe, measurable and repeatable training for their space teams, at a fraction of current costs.$200,000
Silentium Defence Trading Pty LtdSouth Australian Multi-Sensor Space Observatory for SSA/STMThe project will combine two complementary Australian developed space sensors to provide space situational awareness (SSA) to support space traffic management (STM). This will be done through the establishment of a new space observatory in rural South Australia. The observatory will include a Silentium Defence MAVERICK S-series passive radar sensor, a Western Sydney University (WSU) Astrosite neuromorphic imaging sensor, and supporting infrastructure to host the sensors, process the data and transmit the information back from the observatory.$1,460,541
Skykraft Pty LtdDesign and qualification of micro-satellite constellation launch systemsThe project will complete the design, development, manufacture and qualification ofa novelstructure to deploy constellations of Australian designed microsatellites from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV). The project will be conducted by Skykraft and XTEK in partnership with New Space India Limited.Thetechnology will provide a fundamental building block for Australian microsatellite constellations to be launched into Low Earth Orbit and deliver networked space services into domestic and international markets.$878,193
Human Aerospace Pty LtdSpacesuits for Preserving Human Health and MobilityThe project will develop and refine three different compression spacesuits, including our Skinsuit deployed twice on the International Space Station. The spacesuits will: 1) help mitigate bone loss and other health side effects of weightlessness by imposing earth-like loading; 2) enable greater mobility and safety for spacewalking compared to traditional gas-pressurised spacesuits; and 3) prevent issues with blood flow and fainting as astronauts return to Earth. The goal is to establish Australia as an internationally recognised hub for space-related compression garments, and translate that technology for Earth-based medical applications such as for burns, sports, lymphoedema, osteoporosis and cerebral palsy. The project will be conducted with extensive international collaboration, including NASA and the European Space Agency.$844,236
University of New South WalesAdvanced GNSS Receiver for CubeSats, Rockets and Remote SensingThe project will modernise and extend the only Australian and NZ flight-proven single frequency Kea GPS Receiver for cubesats, rockets and remote sensing, so that it is fully capable of being used with multiple frequencies, antennas and systems. This will enable new applications such as Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) reflectometry and GNSS radio occultation, as well as providing performance and accuracy improvements both in timing and position or velocity estimation. It will also ensure that it is competitive with other imported receivers. The receiver will have export potential and provide local customers with an improved product at lower cost than imported products.$691,500
Akin Australia Pty LtdAI Crew for space: helping with complex systems testsThe project will develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Space Crew with distinct personas working together as a team. Together, the AI crew will complement the human team, and start to evolve towards fully autonomous operationEach member of the AI crew will have their own strengths. The Helper, an outgoing and cheerful agent, will proactively engage with humans to provide encouragement and assistance with complex tasks, and talk with natural language. The Inspector, a shy but curious nonverbal agent, will support the human team by continually monitoring the environment and look for anomalies, using sensors and computer vision. Finally, the omniscient Manager will give a high-level overview of the status of the environment and all tasks being performed.$1,531,200


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