University of Southern Queensland: A space research trailblazer

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University of Southern Queensland executive director of the Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences and project lead, Professor Peter Schubel. Image: USQ.

The University of Southern Queensland has been named an Australian Trailblazer university to accelerate growth in space manufacturing and lead a new research hub of national priority. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave the green light to the University of Southern Queensland-led Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications and Hypersonics (iLAuNCH) Hub. The university will boost commercialisation and national capability in the space sector, thanks to $50 million in funding under the federal government’s Trailblazer Universities Program. 

“The University of Southern Queensland is already a leader in space manufacturing with expertise in hypersonic propulsion systems, advanced materials, and astrophysics,” University of Southern Queensland vice-chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said. 

“iLAuNCH Hub will improve Australia’s skills in the space sector, providing new jobs and boosting the economy, and also help ensure our country’s space expertise grows well into the future.” 

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The University of Southern Queensland’s hypersonic wind tunnel facility investigates aerodynamics and heat transfer on aerospace vehicles. Image: USQ.

It is anticipated that the new hub will generate over $3.65 billion in economic benefits across the region and Australia. 

“iLaunch will operate as a national space commercialisation Hub with three nodes – the University of Southern Queensland, ANU in the Australian Capital Territory, and UniSA in South Australia,” University of Southern Queensland Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences executive director Professor Peter Schubel said.  

“Our industry partners have identified $3.65 billion in economic benefits associated with the 18 core iLaunch commercialisation projects, which will accelerate Australian IP to market, and the development of a Space Engineering Degree that will create a pipeline of skilled, job ready engineers into this exciting high-value, high-growth sector. 

“The program will provide critical research, equipment and infrastructure in support of rocket manufacturing, rocket launch and in-space hardware such as satellites, communications and sensors.” 

The Hub will support its industry partners to develop a space manufacturing precinct in regional Queensland for rocket manufacturing and associated supply chain development, servicing civil and defence requirements.