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New Zealand Space Agency Invests NZ$3M In Six Kiwi New Space Companies Through Catalyst Strategic Space Fund

New Zealand as seen from low-earth orbit. Photograph courtesy of NASA.

Six New Zealand research projects have received NZ$500,000 each to fund the development of innovative space technologies including satellite control systems and ocean and coastal monitoring satellites.

The recipients of the funding, awarded through the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment’s (MBIE) competitive Catalyst: Strategic Space Fund, are Dawn Aerospace, Swarm NZ Limited, The University of Auckland (x2), The University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington.

The funding supports these recipients to partner with leading international space organisations to develop new space-related technologies, accessing valuable data and support. They will partner with international organisations including LeoLabs, the University of New South Wales Canberra, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

International Science Partnerships Manager Simon Rae says the investment will accelerate the development of space sector capability in New Zealand by enabling New Zealand researchers to build complementary partnerships with leading international space organisations.

“These partnerships enable New Zealand’s researchers to gain access to a wider range of experience and resources than they can domestically,” Simon Rae said.

“The projects we have funded include innovative and novel research across a wide range of fields that will allow New Zealand researchers to develop critical competencies alongside world-class partners.”

The six successful projects were recommended from a pool of 29 proposals by a combined panel of international and domestic experts. Applications were submitted from a wide variety of organisations, showing a promising foundation for future initiatives.

The successful projects are expected to begin later this month.

Organisation                                      Proposal title

Dawn Aerospace                                  Development of environmentally friendly, high performance satellite propulsion systems for replacement of toxic hydrazine

Swarm NZ Limited                              Advanced small satellite control systems for collision avoidance and orbital debris mitigation

The University of Auckland               Small-satellite radar to monitor NZ’s oceans and coasts

The University of Auckland               Space satellite mission design and control

The University of Canterbury           Taking biochemistry to new heights: developing nanosatellites for protein crystallisation

Victoria University of Wellington    Thermal management of cryogenic superconducting magnets in small satellites

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