Grants for Australian space capabilities

The federal government is backing Australian businesses to develop and launch new products into space, as part of a plan to get more local companies to be part of NASA’s Moon to Mars program.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Demonstrator Feasibility grants – between $50,000 and $200,000 are available under the two-year Demonstrator Feasibility program – will allow businesses and researchers to look into whether their projects are viable – showcasing local space capabilities on the global stage.

“Investing in space is investing in our future. By backing Aussie businesses to be part of global space supply chains we can grow our economy and create new jobs,” Minister Andrews said.

“These grants will provide opportunities for businesses and researchers to scope out the feasibility of projects which have the potential to operate or support operations in space, including activities related to NASA’s Moon to Mars endeavours.

“Space isn’t just about launch. Space technology can improve our lives, from assisting in the delivery of remote rural medicine, helping us stay connected with loved ones across the world and assisting farmers to manage their land through advancements in robotics.

“We’re also focused on building manufacturing capability and growing the space sector here at home – a key priority area of our Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy.” 

Head of the Australian Space Agency Dr Megan Clark AC said the Demonstrator program will support commercially focused projects to build capability in the national civil space sector and open up global market opportunities.

“The Demonstrator Feasibility grants are about building capacity and capability in entities that are at the starting point on the path to developing and launching products into space,” Clark said. “The grants will help businesses and researchers identify the feasibility of potential projects before they embark on the next stages of a space mission.

“Space exploration opens up new opportunities for Australia as it provides an avenue for Australian businesses to apply our best technology and know-how to space missions. These activities can also support the creation of high-value manufacturing capability, which can be transferred to other industries.” 

 The $150 million Moon to Mars initiative is part of close to $700 million being invested by the Australian Government into the Australian civil space sector as part of its goal to triple the sector’s size to $12 billion and create up to an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.