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Supply Chain grants for Australian businesses pursuing ‘Moon to Mars’

Australian manufacturers keen to play a role in NASA’s Moon to Mars mission can now access over $25 million in grant funding as part of the Federal Government’s Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants program, according to the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).

In late 2019, the Federal Government announced a $150 million funding package to help ensure Australian companies are involved in the US Government’s Moon to Mars space exploration program, as well as NASA’s Artemis lunar program that will see astronauts land on the moon by 2024.

Designed to grow local capability, supply chains and job opportunities in the space sector, the $25 million Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants program is the first element of the Federal Government’s $150 million funding package.

As part of the Artemis program, NASA is working to send astronauts to the Moon by 2024 to establish a permanent human presence and uncover scientific discoveries. The Federal Government established the local Moon to Mars initiative to give Australian businesses and researchers the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and capabilities in projects that support NASA’s Moon to Mars program.

According to Campbell Pegg, Moon to Mars Program Manager, Australian Space Agency, The Moon to Mars initiative was set up by the Australian Government to accelerate the growth of Australia’s space industry and support NASA’s activities. The initiative combines both a relationship building aspect and a space industry building objective.”

The Australian Space Agency has designed the Moon to Mars initiative with three integrated elements.

The Moon to Mars initiative is broken down into three programs:

  • Supply Chain program
  • Demonstrator program
  • Trailblazer program

Trailblazer is the one mission that goes beyond Earth. It is most likely to see Australian technology land on, orbit or fly by the Moon. The Australian manufacturing industry will play a key role in this program—it will be an Australian mission, with Australian hardware orbiting and landing on the Moon,” said Pegg.

The Demonstrator program is a comparatively smaller project focussed on getting hardware up into space. The Demonstrator program provides a pathway for Australian companies to develop and launch products into space.

The Demonstrator program is expected to open in late 2020.

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