Last week we quietly achieved something special in Australia. When Moonshot was founded, one of the first ideas to realise our vision was to run an accelerator program specially designed for space and hardware startups. This program would be a vehicle for connecting space startups with investment opportunities, regulatory support, access to testing and manufacturing facilities, corporate partners, and a global network of expert mentors and advisers who understand more than just software businesses. It would be a mechanism for jump-starting the space innovation ecosystem.

No other accelerator or incubator provider on the planet has the ability to support space-related startups like Moonshot can, largely because we’re supported by the largest and most passionate, expert, and helpful space innovation community.

In May this year we decided to have a go at a moonshot ourselves. After flying around the world and organising many meetings, we rapidly established partnerships that led to a collection of space-related teams from around Australia and the globe converging on Melbourne for Australia’s first space accelerator program in July — Moonshot Hyperdrive.

We are called Moonshot for a very important reason

Hyperdrive is the name we give to the class of accelerator programs we run for startups that have recently become investment ready. Qualifying for Hyperdrive is an indication that we believe strongly in a team’s ability to develop a smart strategy to execute something truly amazing and valuable. We use our extensive network and prior programs to find the teams that are on track to make science fiction into reality.

This Hyperdrive cohort was the first of many that we intend to run around the world. It’s also a useful demonstration of how we perceive the space value chain, and how we look to support not only core space infrastructure, but related startups both upstream and downstream of that.

Hyperdrive Level 1 — Cohort 1

This was a first for Australia. Apart from our Gemini Ideator programs, Australia has never accelerated a whole space cohort before. After having conversations with , Moonshot was asked to find space businesses to qualify for funding within the 10th cohort, as a special collaboration with Moonshot in Melbourne.

Tapping our extensive local and international networks, we surfaced more than 25 potential candidates, many of whom were strong competitors for accelerator places. After consultations with our new partners we selected the final 4 — two from Australia and two from overseas — which are introduced below.

Each of these companies received investment of $75,000 AUD in the form of a SAFE note. Those who were overseas moved to Australia, where we spent all day, every day coaching them on everything from business development to engineering design and providing connections with valuable people all around the world. Our thesis is that by the end of our program these startups are worth at least 4 times their starting value.

The founders behind Swoop Aero have formed a dream team. Featuring a combination of ex-RAAF pilots and drone builders, Swoop are redefining healthcare with airborne mobility.

Their custom built and manufactured aircraft can travel hundreds of kilometers on a single battery cycle, have been engineered in full coordination with the relevant aviation authorities, are operated by qualified pilots, and are improving the logistical difficulties experienced in the health industry — such as transporting blood or critical vaccinations.

We selected Swoop for Hyperdrive because unlike most drone startups, this is a team executing a real and valuable business model, with great social and financial returns.

In fact, Swoop recently announced an amazing partnership with UNICEF and the Vanuatu government. They’ll be spending three months in the South Pacific flying medical supplies and vaccines for children in remote locations, where previous logistics networks included people hiking through dangerous mountains if access was possible at all.

Swoop are part way through raising a round of investment, are looking to talk with new potential investors, and are looking to build their team as they accelerate their market entry.

JigSpace are making 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) easy for the average person to create and share. Through their platform they are on a path to become the single location for people to learn how to do practically anything.

If you buy a new chair, you can be shown how to build it piece by piece through the lens of your phone. If you wanted to learn how an automatic transmission worked, you can now see it on your desk. Imagine taking the concept further, though. What about performing maintenance on an aeroplane? What about flying the space shuttle?

The team at JigSpace have a vision to do for 3D what Microsoft Powerpoint did in enabling the average person to easily create 2D images. They will soon release their new Jig Workshop, a tool for anyone to easily create 3D animations — or Jigs- on their platform. In fact, if you have an iPad you can sign up as a beta tester . But get in quick, because the JigSpace app has been downloaded over 750,000 times since it was launched.

If you’re wondering what connection JigSpace has with space, and Lockheed Martin’s Mars Base Camp Jig above hasn’t been enough of a hint, just imagine how JigSpace could eventually be used upstream in the space value chain to help engineers, technicians, designers, mechanics, and even astronauts, receive training and perform their roles more effectively.

For now, if you have an iOS device, you should check out their app and .

Streamlined Main Dynamics

The only thing wrong with this image is that there’s a steering wheel

SMD are still mostly in stealth mode, so we can’t say too much about them yet, other than they’re from New Zealand and it involves flying cars.

I know the suspense is eating you up inside, but you’ll just have to follow us on social media and hold tight. It will be worth it.

Leo Aerospace

Leo Aerospace are a California-based team who are using autonomous balloons to create dedicated launch services for micro-satellites. In layperson terms, they launch rockets into space from the bottom of balloons.

It might sound crazy, but it makes sense. Today, there are only around 15 launch opportunities per year, and if you’re launching a microsatellite, chances are you’ll be a secondary payload with permission to ride-share with a more important customer — who may not be launching in your ideal orbit. Today, a customer will be waiting for approximately 2 years for a launch — which is a lot of time for a company or project to fall over.

The technology and business Leo Aerospace are developing will enable microsatellites to have dedicated, and almost on-demand, launch opportunities. They also remove the critical need for expensive launch pad infrastructure, using mobile balloon launch infrastructure instead, which will be operated at multiple sites across the globe (including in Australia in 2021) to be close to their customers.

Leo are performing their first full test launch this December in the Mojave Desert, and are open to talking to interested investors in preparation for opening their next round in 2019.

If you’re interested in participating or partnering with Moonshot in the future, please get in tough with us at