The Morrison Government is providing a $4 million funding boost to Australian space researchers and businesses to help them develop new technologies for use in future NASA missions to the Moon and beyond.
The Moon to Mars Demonstrator Feasibility grants will see 20 organisations receive up to $200,000 each to conduct feasibility testing and to transform their concepts into the next generation of space products and services.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said growing Australia’s space manufacturing sector was a key priority for the Morrison Government and the grants will enable local organisations to capitalise on emerging economic opportunities.
“These grants are part of the Morrison Government’s flagship space program – the $150 million Moon to Mars initiative – which is providing pathways for Australian organisations to play an important part in NASA’s plans to return to the Moon and go beyond to Mars,” Minister Porter said.
“The initiative will also support the transformation of high-value manufacturing industries across our economy, fast-track the growth of the national civil space sector and create high-skilled jobs.”
The 20 successful projects have demonstrated clear potential to support future Moon to Mars activities, including in the areas of advanced communications, remote sensing, autonomous systems and propulsion systems. The projects include:
- The University of Adelaide (SA) has received $198,404 to build a cold vacuum chamber known as the Lunar Surface Simulation Stage, which simulates space. They will use this to research the collection, processing and storage of sample materials.
- Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (WA) has received $200,000 to develop and commercialise its remotely operated Lunar Construction Rover.
- Valiant Space (QLD) has received $200,000 to investigate its proposed Fast Acting Space Transportation (FAST) Demonstrator Mission. In collaboration with SkyKraft, the Mission will include the development of a non-toxic, high performance propellant for deep-space applications.
Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said the Demonstrator Feasibility grant recipients highlighted the breadth, depth and excellence of skills in the Australian civil space sector.
“The projects funded are leading examples of Australia’s capabilities in developing space technologies, which will only continue to grow and expand into the future,” Mr Palermo said.
“Strengthening national capability is one of the key pillars in the Australian Civil Space Strategy and is central to our mission to triple the size of the Australian civil space sector and create up to 20,000 additional jobs by 2030.”
Under the $150 million Moon to Mars initiative, the Demonstrator Feasibility grants are the first component of the Demonstrator program. The second component of the Demonstrator program is the Demonstrator Mission grants which will support projects launching Australian products and services to space. These grant guidelines are expected to open later this year.
The Moon to Mars initiative is part of more than $700 million being invested by the Australian Government in the Australian civil space sector since the establishment of the Australian Space Agency in 2018.
The full list of Demonstrator Feasibility grant recipients is available at: https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/moon-to-mars-initiative-demonstrator-feasibility-grants/grant-recipients