Australian small and medium businesses will be able to access up to $10 million to help launch their technology into space, as part of the Morrison Government’s plan to grow the local sector and create new jobs.
Round two of the Demonstrator Program under the Moon to Mars initiative will see companies able to apply for “mission grants” of between $750,000 and $10 million from a total $41 million grant pool.
Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price said the grants would help more Australian space businesses develop the experience they need to compete on the international stage.
“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.
“Excitingly, the jobs that come from our growing space sector spread across a range of industries and skill sets – from resources, to agriculture, to manufacturing.
“This is all part of the Morrison Government’s plan to grow a globally respected space sector that benefits all Australians, both now and into the future.”
Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said Access to Space is one of seven priority areas under the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028.
“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.”
Earlier this year, round one of the Demonstrator Program saw 20 projects receive up to $200,000 each for their feasibility studies.
To apply for a mission grant in round two, companies do not have to be a recipient from round one, but will require a feasibility study to support their application. Companies will also need to contribute at least 25 per cent of the mission’s costs.
Round two of the program is expected to open to applicants around the first quarter of 2022, with today’s release of the guidelines designed to support companies to prepare.