What is the Moon to Mars Initiative Demonstrator Feasibility Grants?

The Moon to Mars Initiative Demonstrator Feasibility Grants is a program that provides industry and research institutions with grant funds for new feasibility activities for space projects.

 

Background

The $150 million Australian Moon to Mars initiative supports Australian businesses and researchers to join NASA’s inspirational endeavour to go forward to the Moon and then go on to Mars. Investment focuses in Australia over a five-year period, commencing in 2020-21.

The initiative forms an important element of the Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028, primarily addressing the National and International pillars to open doors for Australian businesses and researchers to access international space supply chains, create jobs in Australia
and support the growth of industries across the economy through the development and application of space technologies. Through this, Australian organisations will join with NASA and other international partners to bring Australian capabilities to space, the Moon, Mars and beyond.

 

Objectives

The objectives of the Moon to Mars Initiative Demonstrator Feasibility Grants are to:

  • demonstrate Australian small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) capacity and capability to develop space projects with a clear potential to support Moon to Mars activities for any of the following:
    • qualification
    • space operability
    • space support
    • access to space
  • develop and demonstrate the feasibility of space projects with the:
    • potential to operate or directly support operations in space
    • ability to support Moon to Mars activities
  • demonstrate the value, including commercial value, of space projects to the space industry and marketplace
  • develop Australian SME capability in early mission development activities

 

Funding

The Australian Government announced $150 million from 2019-20 over five years for the Moon to Mars initiative. An estimated $3.7 million is available for Demonstrator Feasibility Grants.

You must provide a minimum of $50,000 cash contribution to the eligible project expenditure. Remaining eligible project expenditure can be covered by the grant, within the range below.

  • The minimum grant amount is $50,000
  • The maximum grant amount is $200,000.

 

Eligible Projects

To be eligible your Demonstrator Feasibility project must:

  • be aimed at improving and/or demonstrating the feasibility of your space project, and moving from phases A to B to phases C to F of mission development
  • have a clear potential to support Moon to Mars activities
  • align with priorities in the Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028
  • have at least $100,000 in eligible expenditure.

Eligible activities may include:

  • concurrent design studies
  • technical feasibility studies and reviews
  • preliminary design review
  • conceptual design
  • prototype design and development
  • risk assessments, including national security risk
  • developing a business case

Eligible Applicants

To be eligible you must:

  • have an Australian business number (ABN)
  • be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST)

You must also be one of the following entities:

  • an entity incorporated in Australia and a trading corporation, where your trading activities either:
    • form a sufficiently significant proportion of the corporation’s overall activities as to merit it being described as a trading corporation
    • are a substantial and not merely peripheral activity of the corporation
  • a Publicly Funded Research Organisation as defined in the Demonstrator Feasibility Guidelines

Joint applications are acceptable, provided you have a lead organisation who is the main driver of the project and is eligible to apply.

The program can only accept applications where you can provide evidence from your board (or chief executive officer or equivalent if there is no board) that:

  • the project is supported
  • you can complete the project and meet the costs of the project not covered by Demonstrator Feasibility Grants funding
  • confirms you are a trading corporation

The eligibility criteria cannot be waived under any circumstances.

Timing

Applications close 22 December 2020.

 

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