WA space project to drive nationwide industry growth

Crescent Earth viewing from space to Europe with sun flare.

The federal government and Western Australian government will invest in new space technologies across the state to help grow a range of industries nationwide and create new jobs.

Two of the projects being supported are part of the federal government’s $19.5 million Space Infrastructure Fund and to support local jobs and research and development.

Fugro Australia Marine will receive $4.5 million from the Commonwealth to build the Australian Space Robotics, Automation, and AI Command Control Complex (RAAICC) in Perth. The facility will boost opportunities for start-ups, small businesses and researchers to control robotics activities in space, including servicing satellites in orbit.

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre will receive $1.5 million to establish Australian Space Data Analysis Facility (ASDAF) in Perth.

Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said both projects highlighted the importance of developing technological capability to drive growth across various industries.

“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,” she said.

“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 WA government, which has committed $3.5 million to the RAAICC and $750,000 to the ASADF on top of Commonwealth funding.

WA Science Minister Dave Kelly said the state government’s investment in these centres will help grow Western Australia’s space industry.

“The RAAICCC will support the WA headquartered AROSE 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,” he said.

“The Space Data Analysis Facility will support business across a range of sectors to develop new products and services and help improve productivity and innovation across key WA industries.”

The Space Infrastructure Fund is among almost $700 million of federal investment in the space sector, which aims to triple the industry’s size to $12 billion and create 20,000 jobs.