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First Australian Moon mission opens new chapter for space supply chain

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Lunar Ascent has been announced as the first Australian Moon mission, lifting off an exciting new chapter in the growth of the Australia’s space sector 

An industry-led consortium spearheaded by Space Machines Company and supported by Deloitte, Launch Ascent aims to educate, inspire and connect all Australians to space activity and the role Australia can play globally. 

In a statement, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres expressed support for the lunar mission.  

“The sky is no longer the limit for business as manufacturers and supply chain providers look to space as the new frontier for growth and opportunities. So, when you look up, keep an eye out for the Made in NSW stamp,” Minister Ayres said.  

The announcement came on Saturday, 5 December 2020.  

The first Australian Moon mission is currently inviting all companies and related entities in the space industry to join the moon shot – to send the first Australian nanosatellites to orbit around the Moon in 2024.  

Its success, according to the consortium, will need a variety of supply chain participants, particularly involving mission design services, launch and rocket capability, satellite and long-range transportation spacecraft, mission control and cyber capability, lunar observation, space data capture and analysis, space telecommunications, precise position, robotics and education.  

“Lunar Ascent will use an innovative and cost effective in-space transportation platform being developed by us to deploy nanosatellites in Lunar Orbit,” said Rajat Kulshrestha, CEO & Co-Founder, Space Machines Company.  

“Development of such capability in Australia for the mission will play a critical role in a globally competitive supply chain and skills growth for Australian Space Industry,” Kulshrestha said.  

“This mission will demonstrate sovereign capability in building, testing and deploying technology for deep space missions.”  

Several companies have already expressed their intent to be involved in the mission, such as Saber Astronautics, Inovor Technologies and Sitael Australia. Industry consultation and engagement will continue until late March when the Mission will be officially launched. 

A public private partnership model is being pursued to fund the mission with a combination of corporate sponsorship, donations, and available government funding for Space and Advanced Manufacturing.  

Lunar Ascent will maximise the use of Australian capability and collaborate with international companies to achieve the mission goals, one of which is to enable a competitive and resilient space supply chain.  

Other goals lie in building a national mission, aligned to industry and government objectives, to put payload of 60kg into useful lunar orbit in 2024, promoting international collaboration and growth, helping grow Australian skills and jobs in space sector and inspiring and connectingt the Australian community to Australian space activities. 

Minister Ayres said this mission adds fuel to the federal government’s goals to develop national space sector capability.  

It will build long term sovereign capability and strategic space assets for generations to come. This is Australia’s time to reach for the stars,” he said.  

Source: Lunar Ascent

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