Five Indigenous Australian university students will next week head to the USA for a once in a lifetime internship with NASA.

The two female and three male students have been selected for the first ever cohort of the National Indigenous Space Academy.

They will partner with a scientist or engineer mentor at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) in California for the 10-week full time internship. They will complete projects outlined by their mentors while also contributing to NASA JPL missions.

The students are:

  • Cedar Lett, Griffith University
  • Edward Vanderfeen, Western Sydney University
  • Lincoln Bourke, University of Sydney
  • Linden Beaumont, Monash University
  • Tully Mahr, University of Melbourne

The chosen students are first taking part in a space bootcamp focused on aerodynamics, robotics, astrophysics, planetary science, engineering, computer and earth sciences. They are also learning about past and current space exploration missions they will be exposed to at NASA JPL.

The program will create a pathway for the students to take part in NASA JPL projects such as robotics, robot perception control, path planning and Artificial Intelligence.

The National Indigenous Space Academy is funded by the Australian Space Agency and delivered by Monash University. It is led by proud Wadjak/Ballardong Noongar man Associate Dean (Indigenous) Professor Chris Lawrence in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University. The program was first piloted by Professor Lawrence in 2019.

Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said developing a diverse STEM workforce is a priority of the Australian Government.

‘As we continue to grow our space sector here at home, we have an opportunity to do that in a uniquely Australian way by embracing thousands of years of First Nations knowledge in making sense of the land, by looking to the sky,' Mr Palermo said.

‘These students are going to be exposed to cutting-edge space missions and will develop knowledge and skills they can bring home to our space and tech community.

For more information on the recipients or the Academy visit -

Our department recognises the First Peoples of this Nation and their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to the lands, waters, seas, skies, and communities.

We Acknowledge First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Custodians and Lore Keepers of the oldest living culture and pay respects to their Elders past and present. We extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.