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What is the Moon to Mars Initiative?
The Moon to Mars Initiative is a $150 million investment to grow the space industry. Through this initiative, Australia has the opportunity to showcase our knowledge and capabilities in projects that can support NASA.
The $150 million Australian Moon to Mars Initiative (the 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. It primarily addresses the National and International pillars:
- to open doors for Australian businesses and researchers to access international space supply chains
- create jobs in Australia
- 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.
The objectives of the initiative are to:
- support Australia’s ambitions to join NASA’s endeavour to go forward to the Moon and then go on to Mars
- accelerate the growth of the Australian space industry
- build Australian space capability and capacity
- lift Australian involvement in national and international supply chains
- inspire the Australian public.
The intended outcomes of the initiative are:
- Australian involvement in international space programs and missions that support Moon to Mars activities
- increased growth of Australian space businesses
- an increase in Australia’s space capability
- increased exports
- increased access to national and international supply chains
- strengthened relationships between international agencies and the Australian Space Agency
- increased employment in STEM related and highly skilled fields
- increased community engagement in space activities.
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The initiative includes three investment programs.
This program draws on Australia’s competitive strengths. It builds capability and helps a variety of industries deliver products and services into global space supply chains.
This can include backing businesses to:
- develop a product from an adjacent industry, such as manufacturing and resources, to support the space sector
- improve or qualify an existing product to meet a supplier standard for an international space company
- buy, lease, construct, install or commission equipment, including specialist software
This program supports Australian businesses and researchers to develop and launch space products or projects. By doing so, it will showcase our space strengths to the world.
This can include backing products or projects focused on the following:
- robotics and automation
- satellite communications
- remote medicine applications
- propulsion technology
This is the signature program of the initiative. It will see Australia play a direct role in NASA’s mission to go to the Moon and on to Mars.
This can include investing in and applying Australian capability for the mission across the following areas:
- autonomous systems such as a rover
- next generation communications
- componentry for a lunar probe or vehicle
- scientific research expertise in minerals
Brisbane start-up company Valiant Space is sending locally-made components into orbit, onboard SpaceX, from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.
The company has been supported by the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub, which is funded by the Queensland Government, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Urban Arts Project and the Innovation Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC).
The Queensland Government-funded ARM Hub, at Northgate, helped the company get off the ground. It’s Australia’s first in-space chemical thruster for satellites made with non-toxic propellants.