The new foundation is offering $150,000 in scholarships across all tiers of education to support public space education and outreach in Australia.
The Andy Thomas Space Foundation’s Education Fund is offering five scholarship and award programs for 2021 at secondary, tertiary and post-graduate levels.
There are 21 scholarships and awards on offer, funded through sponsorship from business, educational and government sources.
Andy Thomas Space Foundation Chairman Michael Davis AO said the scholarships helped fulfill the vision and objectives of the foundation, which was established in July 2020.
“One of the fundamental reasons for establishing the Andy Thomas Space Foundation was to promote education in space-related subjects,” he said.
The most valuable are three EOS Space System Research Awards worth $10,000 each, for post-graduate research in advanced satellite engineering and communications topics.
The second level of scholarships comprises a Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program award, valued at $15,000, for an Australian under-graduate to attend the International Space University/Uni SA Southern Hemisphere Space Studies program in 2022.
Three scholarships worth $10,000 each will be awarded to students seeking honours or masters degrees in a space-related field of study.
The fourth level, offered in conjunction with the University of Melbourne, will be five prizes of $6000 each for undergraduate and graduate students in space disciplines which will also include offers of internships hosted by the space companies involved in the SpIRIT Australian small satellite project.
And the fifth level will be nine awards of $5,000 each for School Projects submitted by students and teachers from years 7,8, and 9, on topics related to space technologies as solutions to local environmental, economic or social challenges.
These rizes will include a visit to the Australian Space Discovery Centre that is being developed at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide, the home of the Australian Space Agency.
Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, said the scholarship initiative was also aligned with the Space Agency’s mission to inspire the Australian community and the next generation of space entrepreneurs.
“Inspire is one of four key pillars in the Civil Space Strategy and I applaud the Andy Thomas Foundation for supporting the development of young Australians on their paths to a bright future in the space industry,” Palermo said.
Foundation CEO Nicola Sasanelli AM said one of the most important measures of the Foundation’s success would be the educational opportunities created for young Australians.
“These scholarships are for the young people who will contribute to the growth and sustainability of an exciting new high-tech sector in this country,” he said, adding that special consideration will be given to female students, indigenous students and those from rural or regional areas.
The scholarship announcement comes on the eve of the Australian Space Forum, Australia’s largest professional space conference, which is also run by the Andy Thomas Space Foundation.
The space forum will be held on Wednesday (31 March) at the Adelaide Convention Centre and is expected to attract more than 700 delegates and profile exhibitions from 65 organisations.
South Australia has become the hub for space industries in Australia.
The space ecosystem in Adelaide has grown in recent years, with collaborations with NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the establishment of the SmartSat CRC and the presence of numerous successful startups such as the Inovor, Myriota, Fleet Space Technologies and Southern Launch.