- 51,000 defence, aviation and space publications
- Cited 3.7 million times global average for Earth observation
- Over 2,000 space industry employees
- AU$760 million per year in core space industry services
Queensland is an Asia-Pacific defence, aviation and space research and industry hub, with a reputation for excellence in:
- unmanned airborne vehicle R&D facilities
- advanced maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities and support services
- world-class education, training and simulation activities
- leading-edge logistics
Queensland has world-leading capability in hypersonics, robotics and automation, Earth observation, niche manufacturing including advanced composite materials, and new launch technologies. These research strengths underpin the state’s defence, aviation and space industries.
Queensland researchers published nearly 52,000 publications in defence, aviation and space topics between 2017-2021 and Queensland’s research into Earth observation were cited 3 times more than the global average (citation rate of attributable publications). Predominant research areas across defence, aviation and space include quantum; deployable sensor systems; advanced materials manufacturing; information systems, big data analytics and machine learning; robotics and autonomous systems; human factors; hypersonics; rocket fuel development; astrophysics, and disaster management and national resilience.
Queensland is a leader in unmanned aircraft systems, with the world-class Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre based in Brisbane. Queensland also has strong capabilities in the future of helicopter design and the integration of electronic systems into aerospace applications.
Industry-research collaboration and commercialisation
Queensland rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies has partnered with the UniSQ Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences to collaborate on advanced rocket technology research including advanced automated composite manufacturing, hypersonics, high temperature flow diagnostics, rocket fuel analysis and satellite tracking.
Advanced robotics and automated vehicles
Leading the Australian development of next-generation automated combat vehicle technologies Rheinmetall Australia are collaborating with QUT Centre for Robotics, Defence Science and Technology Group, Queensland Centre for Advanced Technologies and RMIT to develop advanced sovereign robotics and automated vehicle technologies in Queensland.
New era in hypersonic flight testing
Building upon decades of Hypersonics research by the UQ Centre for Hypersonics, a partnership between the centre and Texas A&M University, CUBRC and the US Air Force Office for Scientific Research has led to the successful and landmark launch of the Boundary Layer Turbulence Flight Experiment (BoLT II) rocket.
Performance and the microbiome
In leading research into mind-body health and performance, QUT researchers at the Translational Research Institute, are working with the University of Newcastle and Microba in the Cognitive Gut project, and a Performance Patch project to develop ground-breaking wearable sensor technology for tracking physical and cognitive stress biomarkers.
The UniSQ Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences has partnered with Rocket Technologies International, to build Australia’s first privately owned rocket testing site. This partnership will build capacity for Australia, to develop the space industry and support fledgling rocket manufacturing companies to enter the space race, advance technologies and sovereign capability.
As key players in the most dynamic space economy in Australia, Griffith University is working with Gilmour Space Technologies on a two major space projects - the research and development of low-cost filament-wound composite rocket fuel tanks and a new prototype G-class satellite platform that is scheduled for launch into space in 2023.
Joining the move to return to the Moon, a consortium led by the QUT Centre for Robotics with Canada’s MDA and the Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth, are designing a logistics robot prototype that may be used inside the International Space Station or the Lunar Gateway to assist in moving cargo or perform routine inspections.
Building on the success of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative and the ongoing Joint Research Centre for Biofuels and Biorefining at the QUT Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy, Oceania Biofuels is spending approximately A$500 million to establish Australia’s first commercial sustainable aviation fuel biorefinery at Gladstone Port.
Fuel feed systems for space launch vehicles
Researchers UniSQ’s Institute of Advanced Engineering Space Sciences and Gilmour Space Technologies have partnered to develop and validate new fuel delivery systems for Gilmour Space's next-generation hybrid launch vehicles, which will be safer and more cost-effective than traditional chemical-propulsion rockets.
Contact the commercial partnership offices of Queensland universities and research institutes for details of their research-industry collaboration or investment opportunities.
Support for defence, aviation and space in Queensland
The Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) is a university-led partnership that facilitates and strengthens connections and collaborations between Queensland universities, government and the wider Defence industry to rapidly translate ideas into reality.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia launched its first Australian research and technology program, with their Australian, German and Canadian development teams working with QUT Centre for Robotics, Defence Science and Technology (DST), CSIRO’s Data61 and RMIT University.
Through their extensive network of researchers, the Griffith University Defence Network co-creates solutions for defence needs, and gives the Department of Defence and Defence Industry unprecedented access to world-class expertise, capability and know-how spanning areas as diverse as advanced technologies and social marketing.
Boeing Defence Australia support Queensland’s growing defence, aviation and aerospace needs through their Boeing Research and Technology Australia Centre at The University of Queensland St Lucia campus. The centre is a highly collaborative advanced research and development unit that brings together Boeing and UQ researchers to collaborate on the next great advances in defence, aviation and aerospace technologies including highly integrated large scale composite structures, platform maintenance technologies, light robotics and automation for aircraft manufacturing, autonomous systems supporting the commercial deployment of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), wideband communications, human factors and sensing to support high end defence platforms and services.
Queensland's aviation and aerospace industry comprises more than 300 enterprises that range in size from global corporations to small and medium-sized businesses. These enterprises represent 31% of Australia's total number of aviation and aerospace firms, making Queensland a major hub for the industry in the Asia-Pacific region. Queensland is home to Australia’s launch vehicle and aviation manufacturing sectors and Brisbane is home to Boeing’s largest aircraft spare parts and chemical distribution centre in the Asia Pacific region as well as Virgin Australia’s head office located in South Brisbane.
Queensland’s Attracting Aviation Investment Fund, jointly funded by the Queensland Government and industry, has invested AUD $200 million to support the growth of service frequency, capacity and development of new international aviation routes into Queensland’s airports
Australia has a strong and dynamic space sector that is supported by the Australian Space Agency and the Advancing Space - Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019 – 2028 that provides a long‑term framework for the space industry. Australia’s most advanced launch vehicle developers – Gilmour Space Technologies, Black Sky Aerospace and Hypersonix – are based in Queensland and are supported by Queensland’s Space Strategy which builds on the Queensland Aerospace 10-year Roadmap and Action Plan. The key priorities of these plans are to strengthen Queensland’s existing capabilities to support research into space-related topics and enhance human capability by promoting clear career pathways into the space industry. The Bowen Orbital Spaceport (being constructed during 2022) will be Australia’s first launch site for affordable and reliable low earth orbit small satellites.
UQ and UniSQ excel in launch systems research, testing and advanced composites. Research at the Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing is developing new combinations of metals, polymers, ceramics and composites and the Centre for Hypersonics is a world-leader in hypersonic technology and reusable rocket research with a hypersonic wind tunnel.
The Institute of Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences that includes Centre for Future Materials has nationally leading applied research and commercial work in composites and hypersonics and hosts a supersonic and hypersonic wind tunnel
Queensland supports a network of regional Innovation Centres and vibrant QiHub innovation community. The university-industry relationships with these hubs and centres are shown in the Strategic Visualisation Tool.
Talent pipeline for defence, aviation and space
Queensland’s universities and industry are at the forefront of defence, aviation and space research and technology development. All of Queensland’s universities offer under and post graduate courses in aviation including aviation management, flight operations, aviation systems and human factors; engineering; and astronomy and space sciences.
The Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship awarded by the Queensland government supports researchers partnering with industry including defence to complete original research that will have a positive impact for Queensland.
UniSQ is Australia's only university with both the Boeing 737 and A320 flight simulators accessible to students. Additionally, UniSQ, Griffith University and CQUniversity have partnered with Qantas to provide high-achieving students with an opportunity to benefit from superior industry experience via the Qantas Group Future Pilot Program with mentoring from experienced Qantas pilots.
The Griffith University Memorandum of Understanding with Gilmour Space Technologies will see the development of locally developed low Earth orbit prototype satellites (first scheduled launch in 2023).
UniSQ are committed to Australia’s burgeoning space industry. With a A$180 million budget, UniSQ leads the Innovative Launch, Automation, Novel Materials, Communications, and Hypersonics (iLAuNCH) program in collaboration with 23 industry organisations and two other universities that is building Australia’s space capability. The program will grow Australia’s commercially viable civil rockets, rocket test and launch facilities, rapid satellite manufacturing, communication technologies and integrated sensing systems.
TAFE Queensland has partnered with Rheinmetall Defence Australia to deliver a growing workforce of welders that meets international welding standards. TAFE Queensland also offer courses to develop specific skills in specialised aviation and maritime operations and technology.
Aviation Australia provides world-class training for aircraft maintenance engineering, cabin crew, pilot and remote piloting at campuses near the Brisbane International Airport and in Cairns. The Brisbane campus features the state-of-the-art Technical Training Centre and Flight Safety Training Centre and is also home to a Boeing 737 Flight Simulator.
Queensland high school student can be industry-ready under Gateway to Industry Schools program for Aerospace that is hosted by Brisbane-based Aviation Australia. This is long-term development program where schools are supported to engage and partner with aerospace industries, tertiary education and training providers to inspire students to consider a skilled, diverse, and sustainable career or pathway into to the aerospace industry.
An Australian space start-up, Lunaria One, led by @QUT researcher Lauren Fell will experiment with growing plants on the moon
An Australian space start-up, Lunaria One, led by @QUT researcher Lauren Fell in collaboration with @RMIT and @ourANU, will experiment with growing plants on the moon by sending a specialised plant capsule there.
The Australian Government has announced 4 new research grants of A$140 million for four Queensland-led Australian Research Centres of Excellence (ARC CoE) to run for 7 years from 2023. UQ will lead the: ARC CoE in Quantum Biotechnology; ARC CoE for Indigenous Futures; and ARC CoE for Green Electrochemical Transformation…
The University of the Sunshine Coast is looking to the skies to explore the sea, in an ambitious new project to help future-proof shorelines.
A University of Queensland study has shed new light on a mysterious, unpredictable and potentially devastating kind of astrophysical event.
Bond's Tactical Research Unit highlights gender divide.
A QUT engineer who has made a significant contribution to the burgeoning drone industry has been recognised with the 2022 Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Batterham Medal.