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Rover bidder AROSE appoints new chair

The AROSE consortium, bidding to create Australia’s lunar rover, has appointed a former senior Telstra executive as its new chair.

Deena Shiff will replace 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.

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

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.”


The federal government granted AROSE $4 million to develop a prototype for a lunar rover as part of Australia’s landmark Moon to Mars Trailblazer initiative.

The consortium is attempting to create a semi-autonomous device that could collect lunar soil that will eventually be turned into oxygen.

It faces stiff competition though from ELO2 which unveiled its own prototype late last year, showing off its soil-gathering scoop.

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

The organisation was established to take advantage of existing remote operations expertise in the Australian resource sector and adapt it to sectors including space. It’s significantly backed by the Western Australia government.

“It is a great honour to follow in David’s footsteps to take on this important role as AROSE Chair,” said Shiff.

“I believe that Australia is ideally placed to combine its expertise in robotics and automation in remote environments by applying it in space and deep sea.

“The AROSE consortium has brought together industry and researchers to spearhead the development and deployment of these exciting operations and applications.”

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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