Space control centre to be located in Perth

By on 20 December, 2021

SpAARC could be used, among other things, for controlling rovers on the Moon. Image courtesy Fugro.

Fugro has confirmed that the Australian Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC) will be located within Western Australia’s largest telecommunications exchange in the Perth CBD.

SpAARC will manage robotics and remote operations in Australia, around the world and in space.

The Australian Government committed $4.5 million to the development of SpAARC as part of the Australian Space Agency’s mission to expand the local space sector.

“The remote operation of autonomous and robotic systems in space is a huge area of opportunity for Australian industry and SpAARC will be critical to us realising that opportunity,” said the Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo.

“SpAARC will help deliver the Agency’s vision for Australia to build, operate and maintain the infrastructure and assets which will support the sustainable presence of humans in space.”

The initiative also received funding $3.5 million from the WA Government, with the new complex to support local job creation, research and innovation, and the development of a WA space industry ecosystem.

“Fugro SpAARC is a major contribution to Australia’s journey to become a world-leader in the space industry and diversify the Australian economy,” said Fugro’s SpAARC Director, Samuel Forbes.

“The new facility is an impressive building that provides a base level operational capability that will underpin our ability to support Australia’s most important space missions.”

Telstra’s executive for mining and energy, Mal De Silva, said as one of WA’s key telecommunication sites, the purpose-built Wellington Street Exchange, with its access to subsea cables, technology, and back-up systems, was ideally located to showcase Fugro’s SpAARC.

“We have developed a very close working relationship with Fugro, using Telstra’s satellite facility in Gnangarra to operate a world class remote operations centre and we’re thrilled to be able to now support Fugro in the SpAARC and their quest to reach for the stars,” he said.

SpAARC is expected to be fully operational in late 2022.

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