Housed in Western Australia’s (WA’s) largest telecommunications exchange, and thanks to an ongoing partnership with Telstra, Fugro’s world-class facility will manage robotics and remote operations in Australia, around the world and in space. SpAARC will support the translation of terrestrial capabilities into space, while also providing innovative remote solutions here on earth. The Australian Government committed $4.5 million AUD to the development of SpAARC as part of the Australian Space Agency’s mission to triple the size of the local sector by 2030 to $12 billion AUD and create 20,000 new jobs.
Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said housing SpAARC within WA’s largest telecommunications exchange would further enhance its impact. “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,” Mr Palermo said. “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 AUD from the WA Government; the new complex will support local job creation, research and innovation, and the development of a WA space industry ecosystem.
Fugro’s SpAARC Director, Samuel Forbes, said: “Fugro SpAARC is a major contribution to Australia’s journey to become a world-leader in the space industry and diversify the Australian economy. 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.”
SpAARC builds on Fugro’s world-leading remote operations capabilities and is set to improve remote operations in Australia’s space industry by creating an efficient operating standard. The Australian Space Automation, AI and Robotics Control Centre (SpAARC) will allow Australian industry and researchers to control the remote operation of autonomous and robotic systems in space.
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.”
SpAARC is expected to be fully operational in late 2022. This project received grant funding from the Australian Space Agency’s Space Infrastructure Fund: Robotics, Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Command and Control Centre grant opportunity. The project forms part of the Perth City Deal and will support local job creation, research and innovation.