Manufacturing News

Moon to Mars grants boost Australian supply chain capabilities

Moon to Mars

Two local companies have received funding from the federal government to improve technical capabilities in Australia’s growing space sector, enabling a future role in NASA’s Moon to Mars project. 

The second round of Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement grants follows the allocation of more than $1 million in the first round of grants in March. 

The grants were designed to get more local companies involved in international supply chains and create new jobs as part of the government’s $150M Moon to Mars initiative, minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said. 

“These grants will support the two local businesses to develop their work and tap into national and international space supply chains, helping grow skills and capabilities in the Australian space industry,” Porter said. 

“We are helping Australian companies be part of NASA’s plan to return to the Moon and prepare for missions to Mars, at the same time as strengthening our own space manufacturing base. 

“This funding complements our $1.5B Modern Manufacturing Strategy which is supporting the space sector as one of the government’s six priority areas, he said.  

The two recipients of the Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement grants are:  

  • Crystalaid Manufacture, a high-tech electronics manufacturer from Queensland, has received $461,118 to replace and modernise their vacuum oven technology. This upgraded oven will help enhance their ability to supply electronics components to the international space industry. These components could be used in satellite electronics systems and will help Crystalaid meet new supply chain opportunities. This grant will also help Crystalaid grow the skills and capability of their manufacturing team. 
  • Fleet Space Technologies, a nanosatellite company from South Australia, has received $386,770 to help the company and its partners SA Power Networks and OZ Minerals improve their ability to monitor remote critical infrastructure and environmental factors. This includes collaborating to miniaturise and strengthen sensors in their network. This partnership enables Fleet Space to pursue commercial supply chain opportunities and illustrate a terrestrial application of space technology and hardware, which can be extended to Moon to Mars activities. 

These companies demonstrated the high quality of work being produced in Australia, according to Australian Space Agency head Enrico Palermo. 

“These grants encourage the best in our local companies, helping them develop cutting-edge technologies, create partnerships and link into national and international supply chains,” Palermo said. 

“This strengthens Australian space manufacturing industry and helps build a high-tech workforce that can make a significant contribution to the national economy. 

“Support from the Moon to Mars initiative and other government programs, combined with the talent and innovation of local space manufacturers, is strengthening Australia’s national space capability and enhancing Australia’s ability to compete in the international space economy.” 

The $150M Moon to Mars initiative is part of over $700being invested by the government into the Australian civil space sector towards the goal of tripling the sector’s size to $12B and creating up to an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030. 

The Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement program offers grants between $250,000 and $1M, with applications open until 30 June 2023.  

To apply for a grant and for more information, visit: 

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