An Australian First! Northgate’s Valiant Space Sends Components Into Orbit

Valiant Space, a Northgate start-up company, is set to send Australia’s first in-space chemical thrusters for satellites aboard Elon Musk’s Space X. 

The space components, designed by three young Queenslanders — Andrew Uscinski, Michael Douw and Benjamin Dodd — are meant to help manoeuvre small satellites into orbit using non-toxic propellants. Their invention can help satellites remain in “optimal orbit” and last longer in space, whilst coming online at a faster rate to be monitored on the ground.

The trio from Valiant Space has identified a market gap for space propulsion options that are not carcinogenic, easy to handle, and cost-effective to develop with the support of the  Queensland Government’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub in Northgate.

“Our thruster runs on nitrous oxide and propane – like what you would use in a barbecue, but slightly more pure – which gives a comparable performance to the toxic options, but without the need for high-cost handling infrastructure,” Mr Uscinski said.

“Our solutions will save money at every step of the mission lifecycle, by leveraging a simplified design, rapid manufacturing methods and low-cost propellants.”

Valiant Space has been a tenant of the ARM Hub since November 2020 and has taken advantage of the staff support, flexibility of leasing, and the large warehouse space. The company also secured a $750,000 grant from the Australian Government’s Moon to Mars Initiative to develop its prototype.  

The trip with SpaceX is the first step of the validation process that the Australian-made components can withstand the violent conditions of its journey into space. A full thruster launch will follow in mid-2023. 

“The Valiant Space team is just one business based here at the hub in Northgate and I’m looking forward to seeing the fantastic advancements and products to come from this Palaszczuk Government initiative,” Nudgee MP Leanne Linard said.

“We know our Queensland manufacturers are some of the best in the world and now – perhaps – some of the best in space!”

“Our Government provides support in many ways and in this instance, the Queensland Government-funded ARM Hub, at Northgate, helped these young entrepreneurs out by providing a workspace to start this fantastic business, as well as assistance in applying for the critical grants that have made this SpaceX opportunity a reality,” Minster for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher said.

“We manufacture things for Queensland, we manufacture things for Australia and now we’re manufacturing things for outer space.”