4 mins read 05 Nov 2020

Space Agency opens Moon to Mars Demonstrator Program

The second stage of the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars Initiative – the Demonstrator Program – has opened to Australian businesses, with a $3.7 million pool of funds to be distributed to successful applicants.

Credit: Australian Space Agency.

The Australian Space Agency has this week announced the opening of the second program available to Australian businesses to participate in the $150 million Moon to Mars initiative, in collaboration with NASA.

The second tranche, known as the Demonstrator Program is designed for Australian businesses, industry stakeholders and researchers to build and launch products into space that will showcase our local space sector’s strength, develop new capabilities, enable new business ventures, revenue streams and markets.

The program will offer applications with a grant valued between \$50,000 and \$200,000 over a two year period (from a total pooled value of $3.7 million) with aims for the funds to be used to scope out the feasibility and opportunities for products that are designed and developed to be used in space, or support operations in space.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Demonstrator Feasibility grants 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.

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,” Dr 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 five-year Moon to Mars program is a result of a partnership forged in late 2019 between NASA and the Australian Space Agency, which will see an investment of $150 million across Australian businesses – allowing these businesses to contribute into global supply chains for the ambitious NASA program, aimed at sending the first woman and the next man back to the Moon by 2024, and stepping further in the future out to Mars.

Australia’s Moon to Mars initiative is being rolled out through three major grant-funded steps, which includes the:

  • Supply Chain Program – launched earlier this year, targeting projects and activities which will deliver products and services into domestic and international supply chains, by offering support through grants and facilitation
  • Demonstrator Program – showcasing Australia’s space industry strengths to the world, by developing new capabilities and enabling new business ventures, revenue streams and markets to develop
  • Trailblazer Program – an inspirational flagship program, which will contribute Australia’s space capability with an international space exploration program

Applications for the program can be made here and are open until 22 December 2020.

The Space Agency is also hosting an online information session for interested parties on 10 November 2020 at 2:00 pm AEDT (registration link below).

Demonstrator Program Information Session