Australian SMEs will be able to access up to $10 million to help launch their technology into space, as part of the Australian Government’s plan to grow the local sector and create new jobs.
Round two of the Demonstrator Program under the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) Moon to Mars initiative will see companies able to apply for “mission grants” of between $750,000 and $10 million from a $41 million grant pool.
Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said the grants would help more Australian space businesses develop the experience they need to compete on the international stage.
“These investments will position Australian space companies to be able to play a part in future space missions, including NASA’s efforts to go to the Moon and beyond,” Minister Price said.
“The more Australian technology we can help launch into space, the more the global space community stands up and takes notice of our businesses and researchers. Supporting Australian companies to develop their space experience is essential for them to break into new markets and supply chains – which in turn will draw more investment into our country to grow our economy and create more jobs.”
Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said Access to Space is one of seven priority areas under the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028.
“We know the world wants to do business with Australian space companies but one of the challenges we face is the relative lack of space heritage that many of their innovative technologies have,” Mr Palermo said.
“We don’t want to see great Australian ideas or technology remain grounded because of a lack of support.”
Earlier this year, round one of the Demonstrator Program saw 20 projects receive up to $200,000 each for their feasibility studies.
To apply for a mission grant in round two, companies do not have to be a recipient from round one, but will require a feasibility study to support their application. Companies will also need to contribute at least 25 per cent of the mission’s costs.
Round two of the program is expected to open to applicants around the first quarter of 2022, with today’s release of the guidelines designed to support companies to prepare.
For more information on the guidelines visit business.gov.au
The $150 million Moon to Mars initiative is part of an $800 million investment by the Australian Government in the civil space sector since July 2018, aiming to triple the sector’s size to $12 billion and create up to an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.