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3 mins read 10 Mar 2021

Australian Space Agency Trailblazer Program Set to Support NASA

The Australian Space Agency has announced the third stage of its Moon to Mars Initiative, the Trailblazer Program, to support upcoming NASA missions.

The third and signature stage of the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars Initiative has been announced. The Trailblazer Program will see the Australian space industry directly supporting the NASA missions to have the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, and later the first humans on Mars. 

Australia’s Moon to Mars Initiative, which commenced in September 2019, is a \$150 million investment over five years to boost the nation’s space industry to the global stage. Since then, the Agency facilitated workshops around the country to seek consultation from the Australian space sector in the design of the initiative, as well as running the first two tranches - the Supply Chain program and Demonstrator program. 

“Our team has helped position the industry for success by delivering and implementing the Australian Civil Space Strategy, building new infrastructure, working with domestic and international companies and agencies to create space-based products and services, and partnering with NASA on its inspirational Moon to Mars space exploration program,” said Australian Space Agency Head, Enrico Palermo, recently releasing a statement which included information about Australia’s role in the Moon to Mars Initiative. 

The Moon to Mars Initiative is happening in three major grant-funded programs:

Supply Chain Program

Launched in 2020, offers grants and facilitation to support Australian projects and activities which will contribute to domestic and international supply chains of products and services. Applications for grants under this program can be made here and are ongoing and open until 1 May 2023.

Demonstrator Program

Was also launched in 2020, supports the Australian development and launch of space products and projects. The types of backed projects include propulsion technology, remote medicine applications, and satellite communications. Applications for grants in this program have closed.

Trailblazer Program

Will see Australia directly support NASA’s missions to the Moon and Mars. Possible investment and application areas in this program include autonomous systems such as rovers, next-generation communications, components for a lunar probe or vehicle, and scientific research in minerals.

These programs for the Moon to Mars Initiative will showcase Australia’s capabilities and expertise in the space industry, and accelerate the industry’s growth. For the Trailblazer Program, Australian companies and researchers will have the opportunity to play a direct role in the NASA Artemis human exploration program to go back to the Moon and go to Mars. 

The Artemis Program also includes the Artemis Accords, a guide for international cooperation in lunar exploration written by NASA and signed by several nations, including Australia. Supporting NASA in the Artemis Program means Australia is well on its way to the Moon and beyond. 

Video Credit: The Australian Space Agency