talksatellite   Asia-Pacific    

Daily news




Northern Territory fund backs Singaporean space startup

 Darwin-based Paspalis Innovation Investment Fund has made a S$500,000 investment in Singapore-based space propulsion startup Alenia as it looks to boost the Northern Territory space economy and forge greater ties with the region.

Alenia, which is developing a plasma-based electric propulsion system for small satellites, raised a total of S$1.5 million (A$1.6 million) in a round led by Cap Vista Private, the investment arm of the Defence Science and Technology Agency of Singapore. As well as the Paspalis contribution, Silicon Valley-based venture capital irm 500 Start-ups also participated.

“Our investment in Aliena will assist the company launch a satellite into a low orbit and prove its plasma propulsion technology in a real space environment,” said Darwin Innovation Hub and Paspalis CEO Harley Paroulakis. “As the Northern Territory space ecosystem develops, it will become increasingly important for players in this hinterland to look toward places like Singapore as a source of technology, payload and even potentially launch vehicles.”

As part of the investment, Alenia will work with the Darwin Innovation Hub to advance its solution as well as collaborate towards the development of the Arnhem Space Port in the Northern Territory, which NASA is considering for a potential site for launching sounding rockets into equatorial orbit.

Further, Paroulakis noted that Alenia, as a start up from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, brings important international ties to the region. “NTU Singapore has launched 9 satellites successfully into space, and is leading the space tech front in Singapore and the region. A majority of Singapore-based satellites were launched by NTU scientists,” he said. “We see NTU Singapore as one of the technological leaders in this arena, and we would love to test bed in the Northern Territory in areas ranging from med tech, ag tech, artiicial intelligence and advanced manufacturing in sectors ranging from mining, oil and gas to healthcare and agriculture.”

Alenia said the funding will allow it to expand its team, as well as commission further test infrastructure, including a space simulator and a test facility in Singapore. The funds will also go towards its maiden in-space demonstration mission planned aboard a SpaceX rocket at the end of 2020.

 Paspalis and its related entities has been operating as an investment manager in Australia for the past 15 years. In 2017, the Darwin Innovation Hub was awarded the right to deliver the Federal Incubator Support Program for Northern Australia.

The Darwin Innovation Hub is a partnership between Paspalis, the Northern Territory Government and Charles Darwin University and will focus on two-way innovation and investment opportunities between the Asia Paciic and Northern Australia.

Aliena and the Northern Territory Government (through the Darwin Innovation Hub) have also inked a partnership to build a cross-country regional platform for collaboration that cuts across academia and industry, to ind alignment in systems that can be miniaturised and deployed to enhance operations onboard satellites in space. Tony Chan and Geoff Long, Commsday



The 11th Annual Australasia Satellite Forum


The Westin Hotel, Sydney, Australia

19 & 20 May 2020