Sydney space engineer strikes deal to develop Australian Air Force tech

Sydney-based engineering company Saber Astronautics has won a defence contract to develop technology that can autonomously identify electronic threats for the Royal Australian Air Force.

The contract, valued at $275,000, is the first phase of a three phase project using Saber’s advanced machine learning capability.

The technology will also enable better communications between spacecraft operators and their satellites, especially during disruptive events such as solar flares.

The contract comes at a time when Australians are thinking more about space and related applications. Adelaide is hosting the International Astronautical Congress in September and the government is discussing the future direction of their space industry.

“This is great timing as it allows us to develop a key technology for secure communications at exactly the time that the Australian market is heating up,” said Dr Jason Held, Saber Astronautics’ director and CEO.

“Commercial small satellites are more susceptible to solar storms but still need to produce clean data for customers on Earth. We’re particularly excited to explore this potential more broadly with the Australian Air Force.”

Saber Astronautics has close to a decade of experience in applying machine learning to diagnostics, having demonstrated the technology previously on several NASA and commercial spacecraft.

Using the technology to diagnose signals is a new application and is one of eight contracts awarded by the Defence Innovation Hub to give Australian Defence access to groundbreaking technology.