The COVID-19 global health pandemic has made many people rethink their priorities, where they want to be in their careers and where they want to live to ensure a safe and healthy environment for them and their families.
South Australia has experienced an increase in its population as ex-pats return to the state and migrants from around the world look to the state’s vibrant industries for opportunities to advance their careers and work in dynamic sectors of economic growth.
Adrien Doucet is one such migrant, packing up his life in France to start afresh for South Australian company, Neumann Space.
“What was most attractive to me in coming to South Australia, was knowing the most prestigious space conference in the world - the International Astronautical Congress – was held in Adelaide in 2017; giving me great insight into the dynamics of Adelaide, in regard to the state’s emerging space industry,” Mr Doucet said.
“When I first arrived, it was exciting to know that South Australia was already home to several new and outstanding space companies – from spacecraft design to launch services. South Australia is setting the scene with a complete space sector value chain – from space infrastructure to value-adding services.
“The establishment of both the Australian Space Agency and the Defence and Space Landing Pad at Lot Fourteen is propelling a constellation of employment opportunities for the next generation to come. South Australia has clearly untapped potential to grow Australia’s economy through civil space and defence development areas, and this excites me.”
As Head of Engineering at Neumann Space, Mr Doucet is working on the company’ very first plasma propulsion system, bringing with him a 10-year career in electric propulsion for satellites across the European space industry, having worked at Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space.
Neumann Space is a South Australian space start-up that is currently engineering an innovative plasma propulsion system for satellites based on their patented Centre-Triggered Pulsed Cathodic Arc Thruster technology, supported by several years of academic research. The Neumann Space’s technology turns a solid conductive propellant into a quasi-neutral plasma to produce thrust.
Their unique offering provides a key competitive advantage for Low Earth Orbit missions today; representing a sovereign capability to Australia in what is a globally competitive market.
Neumann Space moved their business from New South Wales to South Australia in December 2016, mainly due to lower costs associated with doing business in the state; and in May 2019, the company made the move to Lot Fourteen to be co-located with other space technology start-ups, the Australian Space Agency and SmartSat CRC.
The company positions Australia well to take advantage of the rapidly growing global CubeSat market segment.
“I’ve had differing roles which have helped me skill up with a diversity of technical knowledge about propulsion systems, engineering development lifecycle and space project management; as well as the chance to engineer hardware to space standards, and build upon hands-on experience with test campaigns,” Mr Doucet continued.
“South Australia plays a key role in the burgeoning Australian space sector, with its heritage in space activity and now being home to national bodies; its defined space sector strategy demonstrates a strong engagement to growing a sustainable space industry, but also in contributing to the national movement.”
Mr Doucet highlights the importance of Lot Fourteen, which plays a game changing role in bringing together people with different backgrounds and expertise, creating opportunities for cross-sector collaboration.
“I believe in an orchestrated network spanning multiple sectors to drive innovation where cutting-edge companies in defence, space, artificial intelligence, cyber security and creative industries come together,” Mr Doucet said.
“The growth of a local ecosystem depends on new people entering, navigating, and starting to actively take part in it. This new ecosystem development in the heart of Adelaide is the enabler to attract and inspire new talent, meanwhile attracting investors and global companies.”
Mr Doucet says he’s grateful for the opportunity he’s been given to shape the Australian space sector and, on a local level, develop the capabilities to grow South Australia’s economy.
“My ambition is to inspire the next generation of Australian engineers, and lead by example within the South Australian industry to support the development of Australia’s defence and space sector.
“South Australia is an unexpected place and fascinating by its urban organisation, very different from the European and Latin heritage.
“We chose South Australia as our new home and safe place to grow our future family with great values of life, openness, and safety.”