Federal Government backs Australian space firms to lift off

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Australian small and medium firms will be able to access up to $10 million to launch their technology into space as part of the Federal Government’s ambition to strengthen the local economy and generate new employment.

Companies can apply for “mission grants” of $750,000 to $10 million from a $41 million funding pool in Round 2 of the Demonstrator Program under the Moon to Mars initiative.

Melissa Price, Australia’s Minister for Science and Technology, said the funds would assist more Australian space companies gain the experience they need to compete on the global arena.

“These investments will position Australian space companies to be able to play a part in future space missions, including NASA’s efforts to go to the Moon and beyond,” Minister Price said.

“The more Australian technology we can help launch into space, the more the global space community stands up and takes notice of our businesses and researchers.

“Supporting Australian companies to develop their space experience is essential for them to break into new markets and supply chains – which in turn will draw more investment into our country to grow our economy and create more jobs.

Access to Space is one of seven key topics of the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028, according to Enrico Palermo, the head of the Australian Space Agency.

“We know the world wants to do business with Australian space companies but one of the challenges we face is the relative lack of space heritage that many of their innovative technologies have,” Mr Palermo said.

“We don’t want to see great Australian ideas or technology remain grounded because of a lack of support.”

The Demonstrator Program’s first round saw 20 ideas earn up to $200,000 each for feasibility studies earlier this year.

Companies do not need to be round one recipients to apply for a mission grant in round two, but they will need to submit a feasibility assessment to support their proposal. Companies must also contribute a minimum of 25% of the mission’s costs.

The program’s second round is slated to open to applicants in the first quarter of 2022.

Visit business.gov.au for more information on the guidelines.

Video: Australian Space Agency