Stellar achievement: UQ students finalists in Australian Space Awards

20 May 2021

Several University of Queensland (UQ) students and Ventures alumni have been announced as finalists in the 2021 Australian Space Awards earlier this month.

The awards were created in 2020 to showcase the best and brightest businesses and professionals in space industry and research – from large-scale defence and industry organisations to research institutions and startups.

Awards are divided into individual and group awards, with sixteen award categories in total. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on 4 June 2021.

Read about the UQ finalists:

Space Education and Outreach Program of the Year

Finalist: UQ Space
The concept for UQ Space was floated in a 2018 session with Ventures. With the support of a dedicated workspace, budget and business phone, UQ Space grew from an idea into an organisation which now has over 100 members and offers students unique opportunities to design, build and launch rockets, rovers, and similar research technologies. In just two years, the team became the top-ranked student space organisation in Australia and New Zealand.

Startup of the Year 

Finalist: Valiant Space
Valiant Space participated in the 2020 Ventures ilab Accelerator program. During this six-month program the team of engineering students, Andrew Uscinski, Bryan Greenham and Michael Douw were awarded $20,000 and mentoring to accelerate their startup. The Brisbane-based company is developing rocket propulsion technologies to help propel the next generation of spacecraft to and from the surface of the Moon. The team, who all met while studying engineering at UQ have taken a dream of contributing to the space industry and brought it a step closer with the successful test of their liquid-fuelled rocket engine and testing of its “non-toxic” space-based thruster for use in small satellites.

Female Leader of the Year

Finalist: Myrthe Snoeks, UQ Space
Myrthe participated in the Ventures Startup AdVenture to San Francisco in 2019, a four-week hands-on global learning experience in innovation and entrepreneurship. Before studying engineering and arts at UQ, Myrthe was a Dutch backpacker living and working at a cattle station in regional Queensland. Now, she is Managing Director of UQ Space, a 100-strong organisation of students working to become the next generation of leaders in the Australian space industry and was instrumental in founding UQ Space. For Myrthe, the real sense of achievement isn’t in the rockets – it’s in the people that make them. Read more about Myrthe's story

Engineer of the Year

Finalist: Bryan Greenham, Black Sky Aerospace
Bryan was one of the co-founders of Valiant Space, a startup that participated in the 2020 ilab Accelerator program. He has been nominated for his work with Black Sky Aerospace.

Good luck to all the finalists and stay tuned as the winners are announced in early June.