Astronaut launches Australian race for space The Sun-Herald

A space industry venture backed by Australian astronaut Andy Thomas has been set up in Sydney to compete for contracts worth billions of dollars. Nine private and public stakeholders have joined the Australian Space Network and others will be recruited next year. The network founders set three initial goals:  A Fedsat 2 satellite operating by 2005;  Australian instruments on Mars by 2010; and  Australian-produced microsatellites orbiting Mars by 2015. The network’s aim is to bring the country’s space professionals and companies together to compete for high-technology projects sponsored by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency.