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Brisbane VR firm joins lunar rover bidder AROSE

The AROSE consortium bidding to create Australia’s lunar rover has signed up a new member that creates underwater VR training for astronauts.

Brisbane-based Raytracer becomes the 23rd member of the group established to take advantage of remote operations expertise in the resource sector and adapt it to industries such as space.

It comes after rival ELO2 unveiled a prototype of its rover design ahead of a planned 2026 mission to the moon in collaboration with NASA.

“Raytracer is an extremely innovative, future-focused Australian company with a solution-driven, entrepreneurial spirit,” said AROSE CEO Leanne Cunnold.


“The space sector is a new economic engine for sustainable growth and jobs in Australia. Space innovations are delivering benefits to communities, such as helping fight the impacts of climate change through better resource management and improved efficiencies.”

Raytracer's underwater VR tech allows trainees to experience a weightlessness-like feeling while watching high-resolution 3D renders on a headset.

A world-first innovation, the company believes it allows astronauts to train at a fraction of the cost of traditional space training methods.

It also has the benefit of allowing members to join in the same simulation while based in separate locations hundreds of kilometres away.


“Improvements in technology and the development of workforce skills are enhanced by collaboration," said Raytracer CEO Peter Clowes.

"We want to be part of this active and growing remote operations ecosystem."

The news of Raytracer's membership significantly follows AROSE appointing a former senior Telstra executive as its new chair earlier this month.

Deena Shiff replaced mining boss David Flanagan, who was reportedly “ousted” as chair of Delta Lithium before taking up a new role as managing director of Arrow Minerals.

AROSE said Flanagan would continue with the group in an “advisory capacity” after serving in the top job for four years.

“During Mr Flanagan’s tenure as AROSE chair, the consortium grew significantly with new members and collaboration partners,” the consortium said.

“In 2023, AROSE was awarded Stage 1 of the Trailblazer program, which will see Australia design, build, test, and operate an Australian-made lunar rover for NASA’s return to the moon’s surface.

“Shiff has had a distinguished career in law and as a senior executive in the communications industry. From 1998–2013, Ms Shiff held senior roles at Australian telecommunications giant Telstra and was the founding CEO of Telstra’s corporate venture capital arm, Telstra Ventures.

“In 2006, Ms Shiff became Telstra’s first woman group managing director. Over the last 10 years, Ms Shiff has served on the boards of several Australian growth stage technology companies.”

AROSE was co-founded in 2020 by former astronaut Colonel Pamela Melroy, who is now NASA’s deputy administrator.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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