Fugro Australia Marine will receive $4.5 million from the Commonwealth government and a further $3.5 million from the WA Government to build the Australian Space Automation, AI and Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC) in Perth. The Complex will open the door for start-ups, small businesses and researchers to control robotics activities in space, including servicing satellites in orbit.
Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the project is part of the Commonwealth’s $19.5 million Space Infrastructure Fund and will support local job creation and research and development.
“Space is about so much more than the excitement of launch, it’s about developing technological capability which can drive growth across a range of industries,” Minister Andrews said in a statement that also announced the formation of the Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF – see separate article in EX2).
“These investments will not only strengthen our place in the global space sector – it has flow-on effects for mining, agriculture, emergency services and maritime surveillance. It’s a win-win. We’re building on the capabilities that make Australian businesses a desirable partner for space projects around the world, as well as growing the industries that we have a natural advantage in like mining and agriculture.”
Cooperation in robotics, automation and AI is a key feature of the memorandum of understanding the Australian Space Agency signed last year with the Western Australian Government.
WA Science Minister Dave Kelly said the McGowan Government’s investment in these centres will help grow the State’s space industry. It will unlock new opportunities for WA businesses and academia to access global space supply chains and participate in international space initiatives such as NASA’s Moon to Mars mission.
“The RAAICCC will support the WA headquartered AROSE (Australian remote Operations for Space and Earth) Consortium to capitalise on the State’s world-leading remote operations for use on-Earth and to adapt it for remote operations on the Moon, Mars and beyond,” Minister Kelly said.