Valiant Space has been awarded a $200,000 grant as part of the Australian Government’s Moon to Mars initiative, administered through the Australian Space Agency. The Demonstrator Feasibility grant will allow the company to develop Australia’s first in-space chemical thruster for its maiden flight to space onboard a Skykraft satellite.

Skykraft’s satellite, which will have Valiant Space’s thruster on-board for the FAST Demonstrator Mission

Valiant Space, a Brisbane-based propulsion company, has partnered with Skykraft, an Australian space services company, to conduct the feasibility study of a joint demonstration mission.

The mission under investigation, named the Fast Acting Space Transportation (FAST) Demonstrator Mission, will pioneer several key capabilities for the Australian space industry.

“This is not just a win for Valiant, but also for Australia,” said Andrew Uscinski, the CEO and co-founder of Valiant Space. “In-space thrusters have proven crucial to the success of other space-faring nations, so growing this capability here in Australia will unlock a lot of opportunity for our space industry.”

Valiant Space’s prototype thruster during its hot-fire testing

The feasibility study will investigate and de-risk crucial elements of the proposed mission, including testing and qualifying Valiant Space’s thruster to prepare it for spaceflight. Additionally, the study will develop concepts for deep-space missions using sovereign Skykraft platform technology out to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Mark Skidmore, Skykraft Executive Chair, said “Skykraft are pleased to be playing a role in building the Australia space ecosystem with companies like Valiant.  Having a critical mass of world class capabilities in Australia will enable Australia to become a global space power.”

In-space chemical thrusters are required for a wide range of manoeuvres, including for orbit insertion, maintenance, collision avoidance, and de-orbiting. These are critical to conducting high value commercial and scientific missions around asteroids, the Moon, and Mars, while also decreasing downtime for satellites in Low Earth Orbit.

“Our thrusters will provide high-thrust, low-cost, and non-toxic propulsion options for the small satellite market,” said Michael Douw, Valiant Space CTO and co-founder. “Being awarded this grant is a strong signal from the government of its intent to invest in Australia’s future space capability.”

The space industry has traditionally relied heavily upon carcinogenic propellants for high-thrust propulsion. However, by using non-toxic and readily available propellants, Valiant aims to greatly improve the safety and reduce logistical complexities associated with launching satellites to space.

This project received grant funding from the Australian Government’s Moon to Mars Initiative

Valiant Space, based out of Brisbane’s ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Hub, is a space propulsion company developing non-toxic, chemical thrusters for the small satellite market. Valiant aspires to improve humanity’s access to the Moon, Mars and beyond by enabling sustainable growth through fast, safe and clean propulsion.

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