The federal and Western Australian state governments are investing $6 million for the state to develop its space industry with a new data analysis facility and robotics, automation and artificial intelligence control centre.
Perth’s Pawsey Supercomputing Centre will use $1.5 million of the funding to establish the Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF), while Fugro Australia Marine will receive $4.5 million to build the Australian Space Robotics, Automation, and AI Command Control Complex (RAAICC).
The complex may also be known as SpAARC (Space Automation, AI and Robotics Control Complex), as it was called by the Australian Space Agency in a tweet.
An additional $3.5 million from the Australian Space Agency has been committed to the RAAICCC as part of its memorandum of understanding with the WA government, and a further $750,000 will be directed to Pawsey’s ASDAF.
The Complex will cater to start-ups, small businesses and researchers seeking to run robotics operations in space, including servicing satellites in orbit.
Industry, Science and Technology Minister Karen Andrews said both projects showcase the opportunity for innovation and job development on either side of the excitement of rocket launches.
“It’s about developing technological capability which can drive growth across a range of industries," Andrews said.
“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.
“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.”
WA science minister Dave Kelly added that the RAAICCC will support the work of Perth’s Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE) consortium and apply the state’s experience with remote operations to missions on the moon, Mars and beyond.
Funding for the projects comes from the federal government’s $19.5 million Space Infrastructure Fund, which forms part of the government’s plan to triple the size of the nation’s space sector to $12 billion by the end of the decade.