Canberra backs business into Moon, Mars space race

The federal Government will back Australian industry participation in NASA Moon and Mars missions with a $150 million investment.

The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, agreed to the investment, to be made through the Australian Space Agency, during his recent trip to the United States.

The Agency will help companies demonstrate their capabilities in projects that can support NASA’s Moon to Mars mission, such as Project Artemis and the Lunar Gateway.

It will also support businesses to become more competitive in international space supply chains, aiming to increase Australia’s share in a growing US$350 billion global space market.

Prime Minister Morrison said: “We are backing Australian businesses to the moon, and even Mars, and back.

“We’re getting behind Australian businesses so they can take advantage of the pipeline of work NASA has committed to.”

Industry minister, Karen Andrews said the agreement would take the space sector to the next level.

She said: “Space also drives technology which has a profound and everyday impact on the lives of Australians – from disaster management, to helping farmers better manage their land and predict drought, through to improving GPS.”

Australia has supported all recent NASA space missions, and Australian manufactured products feature in NASA hardware, including the silicon chips used in the Mars Curiosity rover.

The country also boastd an active space indusry and space launch sector during the 1950s and 1960s, utilising the Woomera rocket range.

The government plans greater cooperation with the US on other cutting-edge science and technology issues, guided by a joint senior level dialogue.

Enhanced cooperation on hydrogen safety, lithium-ion battery recycling and collaborative science was also announced.

Picture: Defence/Australia’s WRESAT on the launch pad, Woomera

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