Waratah Seed is a satellite and industry development project all rolled into one.
Waratah Seed is a pilot program, initiated by the NSW Governments Space Industry Development Strategy and funded by Investment NSW. Known as a Space Qualification Mission, the goal is to build a 6-unit satellite platform and provide rides into space for NSW and Australian space industry companies, giving space-industry groups an opportunity to test their technology in space at a low cost. Known as a ride-share, a concept also being pioneered by SpaceX for rocket-rides, the Waratah Seed WS-1 satellite ride-share will be the first of its kind in Australia, allowing space-tech startups to access a satellite spaceflight for testing commercial payloads, at a cheaper and more accessible rate. The mission will help overcome one of the key barriers to gaining space flight heritage and help to accelerate the development of the Australian space ecosystem.
Waratah Seed Space Qualification Mission is run by a consortium of key Australian space-sector organisations, with experience in helping businesses overcome barriers to gaining space heritage. Led by Prof. Iver Cairns, Director of CUAVA at the University of Sydney, Waratah Seed Consortium includes Prof. Andrew Dempster of Australian Centre for Space Engineering and Research (ACSER) at UNSW, Dr Jason Held of Saber Astronautics, Dr Tim Parson of Delta-V NewSpace Alliance, Dr Justin Lipman of UTS, and Dr Ediz Cetin of Macquarie University.
The Waratah Seed Mission has 2 phases:
Mission Phase 1...Engage payload teams to join the ride-share!
There are two ways that payload teams can join:
First is via the WS-1 Payload Competition, an open competition to find NSW based start-ups with technology ready for testing in space. The Payload Competition is already under way, with five exciting and innovative NSW tech payloads under consideration for a ride-share on the first Waratah Seed satellite mission, WS-1, due to launch in late 2022. Payload teams are competing for heavily subsidized ride-share slots with the winning team being able to fly for only $10K per quarter unit.
The second way to join the Mission as a Commercial Client or paying customer. Australian space tech companies needing to fly their payloads and prove their space-readiness, can purchase part of the remaining 3-units of payload volume at commercial rates, starting at $65K per quarter unit.
No amount of testing on the ground can replace testing in the real space environment. The WS-1 Mission offers a low cost, low risk option for getting much needed space-heritage for commercial payloads.
Mission Phase 2...Building the Waratah Seeds first satellite, WS-1
Due to launch in late 2022, the inaugural Waratah Seed satellite, WS-1, is already in the design stage. The CUAVA engineering team is taking care of satellite development and payload integration, there is also wealth of experience brought to the project by Waratah Seed Consortium partners. Collectively, the Consortium have extensive experience in the space industry, and will work with engineering and payload teams on technical development.
Our aim is to build on the success of the Waratah Seed WS-1 Mission, to offer future ride-share opportunities on subsequent Waratah Seed satellite missions, potentially providing ongoing, affordable space-flight opportunities for emerging Australian space-tech companies.