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3 mins read 13 Apr 2021

Consultation for Space Agency’s Trailblazer Program Begins

The Australian Space Agency has started consultation for the Trailblazer program, the third tranche of the Moon to Mars Initiative.

An artist’s impression of an Australian Moon base. Credit: Australian Space Agency.

The Australian Space Agency is encouraging the space community to look ahead to our nation’s involvement, through business, innovation and inspiration in future missions that are headed to the Moon and to Mars. 

The Agency’s Moon to Mars Initiative is an international program that will see the Australian space industry, through their products, services and supply chains, directly support NASA in the Artemis mission to send the first woman and next man to the Moon, and then to send the first people to Mars. As part of this effort, the Australian Space Agency has begun consultation on the Trailblazer program, which will see the Australian space sector design, build, and execute a flagship lunar exploration mission. 

Moon to Mars Initiative

The Moon to Mars Initiative commenced in 2019 and represents a $150 million investment over five years to boost the nation’s space industry to the global stage. 

“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, in a previously released statement that contained information on the Moon to Mars Initiative. 

The initiative has three phases: Supply Chain Program, Demonstrator Program, and Trailblazer Program. Applications for grants under the Supply Chain Program are open and ongoing until 1 May 2023 and can be made here

Trailblazer Program

The Trailblazer Program is the flagship of the Moon to Mars Initiative and will see the Australian space sector design, build, and execute a lunar exploration mission. Potential missions suggested so far include a rover that will explore the Moon's surface, a Lunar Internet of Things (IoT) network, and an end-to-end astronaut cognitive performance & mental wellbeing system. 

The aims of the Trailblazer Program include building international relationships, the demonstration of Australian capabilities in the space sector, and stimulating growth of the space sector. 

Additionally, the importance of such a program goes to serve a longer-term investment by the Agency across the Australian space community - with the hopes that the mission will inspire the next generation of space-related, up-and-coming researchers, workers and educators. 

To help design and implement the Trailblazer Program, the Australian Space Agency is currently undertaking public consultation to shape the program. The agency is seeking public input on:

  • The proposed objectives and outcomes of the program

  • Australia’s exploration vision and potential missions

  • The proposed implementation of the program

To support this, the Australian Space Agency will be holding an information session on 22 April 2021. 

You can register for the information session, read the Trailblazer Program consultation paper, or contribution to the program’s consultation below.