Powerhouse Parramatta
Image: Jacquie Manning Photography. Dr Chris Boshuizen and Dr. Alan Duffy in conversation. August 2022.

An Evening with Dr. Chris Boshuizen

‘An Evening with Dr Chris Boshuizen’ was held in early August with support from the Tech Council of Australia. Dr Chris Boshuizen, an Australian-born space pioneer, physicist and entrepreneur presented to an audience of space and tech enthusiasts at Powerhouse Ultimo.

Chris has long been an advocate of democratising space flight, his motto “Making space travel as easy as catching a bus” led him to experiencing space travel firsthand in 2021 onboard the second Blue Origin New Shepard flight. Back on Earth, Chris has undertaken multiple entrepreneurial ventures, based on providing Deep Tech education and access to individuals and businesses.

Planet Lab, a company Chris co-founded in 2010, provides open and accessible satellite monitoring of Earth. This data, which is roughly 1700 images of every place on Earth, is accessible for all but ultimately helps government and industry make more sustainable decisions. Prior to this, Chris co-founded the Singularity University for educating individuals on how to leverage tech to solve global issues and worked at NASA as a space mission architect. Currently, Chris is a Partner at DCVC, a deep tech and data venture capital firm which partners with innovative business to apply and utilise Deep Tech at low-cost.

Growing up in Tumbarumba, New South Wales, Chris developed a unique passion for space and the possibilities of knowledge it offered. Standing out from his classmates as a self-confessed nerd, he was championed by his parents and adults in his life, including a teacher who gingerly let him use the internet in 1994 for a whole 10 minutes. It was this support, and a little bit of stubbornness, that allowed him to fuel his passion and pursue the long-held dream of space travel. Twenty-seven years later, Chris was sitting on top of a hydrogen propulsion rocket alongside the legendary William Shatner.

Chris was joined on stage by astronomer and science communicator Dr Alan Duffy, who concluded the event with an in-conversation Q&A. The two discussed the freshly booming space and tech industries in Australia, and how we can best support the growth of the sector. Chris was asked how he was able to find employees to assist in the start-up company Planet Lab, he commented “We didn’t find them, we built them”. With a forecasted 26,000 upcoming jobs in the Australian space industry, support will be required to build skilled employees. Powerhouse Parramatta aims to support the pipeline of STEM students by providing pathways to education and connecting students to industry. The Powerlab will provide a co-working space bringing together researchers, industry, students and members of the community into one collaborative working space, increasing public discourse and awareness of space and tech achievements in Australia.