Government launches Moon to Mars Supply Chain capability improvement grants

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Glowing globe series: Oceania. Image from the Australian Space Agency

The Australian Space Agency is partnering with NASA on its inspiring plan to go back to the Moon and on to Mars. As part of this, the Morrison Government is investing $150 million to fuel the growth of Australian businesses so they can succeed in national and international space supply chains, and support NASA on its ambitious campaign.

The first program in the Moon to Mars initiative has opened today with the launching of the $25.7 million Supply Chain Capability Improvement grants. Local businesses now have the opportunity to apply for grants that will strengthen their skills, capabilities and capacity. With Australia’s growing range of capabilities including earth observation, optical communications, advanced manufacturing, automation, the country is in a prime position to support national and international space activities.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Supply Chain Capability Improvement grants will fuel opportunities for local businesses to grow and expand into global markets.

“Space offers a significant economic opportunity to create more high tech jobs for Australians – not just in existing space businesses but in a range of related fields including advanced manufacturing,” Minister Andrews said in a statement. 

“This is an investment in Aussie businesses when they need it the most. Importantly, the grants will help showcase our best ideas and technologies on the global stage and see Australia play a role in NASA’s endeavours to go to the Moon and on to Mars.”

The Moon to Mars initiative consists of three integrated elements: The first is the Supply Chain program which aims to get Australian products and services into local and global space supply chains. The second is the Demonstrator program which will open in late 2020 and will see the development and launching of products to kick-start Australian businesses. The third element is the Trailblazer program, the Australian Space Agency’s inspire piece. This major project will start in 2022 and will support Moon to Mars activities. The Demonstrator and Trailblazer programs are still being scoped, with more details to be released soon.

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Speaking about the grants Head of the Australian Space Agency Dr Megan Clark AC said increasing national capability is one of the primary areas of focus in the Government’s Australian Civil Space Strategy.

“These grants are about Australia building on its strengths, partnering for success by diversifying the economy, and building a high tech workforce that can make a significant contribution internationally,” Dr Clark said. 

“Supply chain partnerships and a clear commercialisation pathway are key to these Supply Chain Capability Improvement grants. We want to see partnerships that bring Australian space products and services to life and contribute to Australia’s export market capacity. This will create jobs and increase skills at a local level.”

Eligible projects could include:

  • activities that support the development of space industry technology, products, processes or services
  • development of a product from an adjacent industry, like manufacturing, to support the space industry

The $25.7 million Supply Chain capability grants is a five year program with grants of between $250,000 and $1 million available. Applications can be submitted at any time up to 30 June 2023.

Visit https://www.business.gov.au/M2M-SupplyChain for more information or to apply.

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