Catalyst: Strategic – Space 2019

MBIE has announced the 6 successful proposals for the $3 million Catalyst Space investment in satellite and space vehicle technologies.

Catalyst: Strategic – Space 2019 (Catalyst Space) accelerates the development of space sector capability in New Zealand by building complementary partnerships with leading international space organisations, enabling New Zealand's researchers to gain access to a wider range of experience and resources than they can domestically.

The funded projects are:

Organisation Proposal title
The University of Auckland Space satellite mission design and control
The University of Auckland Small-satellite radar to monitor NZ’s oceans and coasts
The University of Canterbury Taking biochemistry to new heights: developing nanosatellites for protein crystallisation
Dawn Aerospace Development of environmentally friendly, high performance satellite propulsion systems for replacement of toxic hydrazine
Swarm NZ Limited Advanced small satellite control systems for collision avoidance and orbital debris mitigation
Victoria University of Wellington Thermal management of cryogenic superconducting magnets in small satellites

The 6 funded projects involve a significant degree of novel research across a wide range of fields. Researchers will have the opportunity to develop critical competencies alongside world-class partners in teams with strong established track records. These international partners include; LeoLabs, the University of New South Wales Canberra, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The investment totals $3 million over three years. The 6 projects were recommended by a combined panel of international and domestic experts, and will each receive up to $500,000 (excluding GST). We received 29 proposals in total from a wide variety of organisations, showing a promising foundation for future initiatives.

Catalyst Space is MBIE’s second dedicated investment in space research, following on from the Minister of Research, Science and Innovation’s 7 November announcement that New Zealand would commit $26 million to partner in the MethaneSAT satellite mission.

Catalyst: Strategic is one of the 4 funding streams within the Catalyst Fund. The Catalyst Fund supports activities that initiate, develop and foster collaborations building on international science and innovation for New Zealand’s benefit.

Important dates

Catalyst: Strategic
12 November 2019 Successful proposals announced
November/December 2019 Projects begin
2021/2022 Projects conclude

Public statements of funded proposals

Contact us

For more information, email

Last updated: 17 April 2019