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ASU-based space workforce training program expands to Australia and New Zealand


Three women and a man stand in front of a banner that reads Indo-Pacific Space and Earth Conference

The official launch of the Milo Mission Academy for Lunar Exploration was held at the Indo-Pacific Space and Earth Conference in Perth, Australia, in October. From left: AROSE CEO Leanne Cunnold; The University of Western Australia Associate Professor of Biotechnology Parwinder Kaur; Milo Institute Executive Director David Thomas; and AROSE Program Director Michelle Keegan. Photo courtesy ASU Enterprise Partners

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February 23, 2024

The Milo Space Science Institute, led by Arizona State University, will offer its space workforce training program to university and vocational students in Australia and New Zealand starting in March with a goal to expand across the Indo-Pacific region.

The Australian Space Agency joined with remote operations collaborator AROSE (Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth) to offer Milo’s Mission Academy as a 12-week online course in Australia and New Zealand for the first time. Milo’s Mission Academy is delivered by ASU and provides participants with a firsthand and thorough understanding of the dynamic space mission life cycle.

The launch of the Milo Mission Academy in Australia and New Zealand will contribute to the growth of the space ecosystem. By extending ASU’s space expertise, the academy aims to build capacity in the region and enable deeper participation in the expanding global space economy.

The global space economy is projected to reach more than $1 trillion by 2030, according to U.S. financial sector estimates. That type of growth for highly trained workers takes time to build, and the industry has struggled to attract workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Milo is working to address the space workforce needs through its Mission Academy program, which is now offered in five countries. Mission Academy participants learn mission procedures and protocols from industry professionals and collaborate with fellow team members to complete virtual mission-related projects such as delivering payloads to the lunar surface. Students also learn how to work as a team, apply problem-solving skills and implement program management methods.

“The Milo Mission Academy leverages the success of the L’SPACE program model, which has been running successfully in the U.S. for over five years. The Milo Mission Academy participants will be able to acquire knowledge and operability within industry-standard practices, protocols and procedures currently being used by space missions,” said Sheri Klug Boonstra, L’SPACE principal investigator and Milo Mission Academy instructor. “We are excited to be offering the course in Australia for the first time. It’s an important step in the expansion of our specialized space workforce training into the Indo-Pacific region.”

AROSE Program Director Michelle Keegan said the Milo Mission Academy supports AROSE’s mission to grow the Australian talent pipeline for space exploration and operations and to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM.

“Importantly, graduates will be able to take the skills they acquire in the Milo Mission Academy and apply them across multiple industries throughout their careers,” she said. “Students will obtain skills that make them highly productive in any business environment, which is being evidenced in the interest we already have in the academy.”

Milo is a nonprofit research collaborative aimed at increasing access to space science and exploration to countries that want to build up their space ecosystems and develop the next generation of space science investigators. Milo works with government agencies, universities and space industry experts around the world.

In addition to the Mission Academy, Milo has established a global network of space ambassadors who foster relationships among universities, space agencies, trade associations and government agencies to advance space programs and assist with program implementation. Ambassadors identify aerospace and academic partners that would benefit from Milo’s affordable access to lunar and other space missions through ride-share payloads. Milo has established ambassadors in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ecuador, Zimbabwe and Paraguay.

"Milo’s space capacity-building programs are designed to increase participation in space science, encourage space commerce and promote sustainable economic growth in the communities we serve," Milo Executive Director David Thomas said.

The Milo Space Science Institute has designed space exploration missions specifically for emerging international partners. Milo offers a payload ride-share program that is among the least expensive pathway to the moon for science payloads. The Luna Ride mission leverages an infrastructure as a service model to reduce cost of participation and includes launch, landing, transportation, communication, support for survivability and deployment of payloads onto the lunar surface. Milo has also designed a precursor investigation of the asteroid Apophis several months or more in advance of its 2029 Earth flyby. Data secured from the mission will provide new scientific information on asteroids like Apophis and provide additional data supporting future planetary defense strategies.

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