This weekend we pulled together a mini-festival for space, hosted by aptly-named LaunchVic at the brand new Victorian Innovation Hub in Docklands, to celebrate the Victorian space ecosystem.

The two-day collection of events featured a space hackathon, industry mixer, interviews with prominent space leaders — such as ex-NASA astronaut Greg H. Johnson and Australian space pioneer Richard Tonkin from Australis OSCAR 5 — and a demonstration of an astronaut training simulator made by Melbourne virtual reality pioneers, Opaque Space.

We were also thrilled to announce that the Victorian Government has committed $100,000 in funding to our next series of programs — a localised version of our Gemini Ideator series we’re calling Gemini Melbourne, which consists of a 2-day bootcamp, an 8-week ideation course, and an 8-week accelerator program.

Next week we will begin the accelerator, called Phase 3 — an 8-week inception-stage accelerator for young space-related startups searching to validate their solution to a real market want or need. We’ve accepted 5 space-related startups from around Victoria to participate.

Fireside chat with ex-NASA astronaut, Greg H. Johnson

Leveraging public engagement with the NASA Space Apps Challenge and our space startup bootcamp which ran last weekend, we will also accept a collection of high-caliber individuals into the 8-week ideation course, where we will encourage, empower and coach passionate individuals to form productive teams and create new space projects and businesses in Victoria.

We are proud to be starting this partnership with the government of Victoria to usher in a new era for the space industry within the state. Last month the Victorian government released a report which shows that Victoria’s space industry currently employs 2,300 people and generates $400 million in revenue.

According to the Victorian Minister for Industry and Employment, Ben Carroll, “Victoria is a world leader in the space industry and we’re making sure emerging companies have the chance to thrive — creating new jobs and boosting our economy.”

“This funding will mean Victorian space entrepreneurs can work with Moonshot to grow and participate in global events like the NASA International Space Apps Challenge.”

The commitment comes off the back of the success of Australia’s first space accelerator program and cohort, Moonshot Hyperdrive, which saw 4 high-caliber space startups receive funding and coaching for 12 weeks at the Victorian Innovation Hub.

Through Gemini Melbourne, Moonshot is continuing to lay the foundation for economic growth and a thriving new space industry in Victoria.