A new high-calibre council of space industry professionals established in Perth is expected to reinforce Western Australia’s growing presence on the global space stage and accelerate development in the state’s remote operations technology field.
Formed by the Perth-based remote operations accelerator, Australian Remote Operations in Space and Earth (AROSE), the International Space Council includes four US-based industry professionals and six members of the WA space industry.
AROSE council members include chairman David Flanagan, founder Russell Potapinski, CEO Leanne Cunnold and board member Linda Dawson.
Others on the council are geodata specialist, Fugro Australia’s space systems director, Dawn McIntosh; former NASA chief of staff David Radzanowski; founding director of the Center for Robot Assisted Search and Rescue, John Blitch; and Carissa Christensen, a US space policy advisor.
“Australia’s expertise is well understood by space-faring nations, and there will be many opportunities in the years ahead to expand Australia’s remote operations service offering to major international space sector providers,” said Christensen, who is also CEO of BryceTech.
McIntosh, a former NASA engineer, has also been involved with Australia’s first multi-user remote operations centre for space automation, artificial intelligence and robotics, which opened this month in Perth.
Fugro’s Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC) will test, train and control remote and autonomous operations for space and other harsh environments on Earth.
McIntosh said Fugro was building a scalable operational model, bringing efficiencies to complex space missions across the globe.
“NASA understands well Australia’s global leadership in remote operations capability,” she said.
“SpAARC offers an exciting new pathway for Australian and international companies to test new technologies and systems, as well as train staff in preparation for off-earth missions.”
SpAARC is a key deliverable of the Australian Space Agency’s Robotics and Automation on Earth and in Space Roadmap to 2030. The Australian Government committed $4.5 million to SpAARC as part of its mission to triple the size of the local space sector to $12 billion and create 20,000 new jobs by the end of the decade. The facility also received $3.5 million in funding from the state government.
“SpAARC is foundational infrastructure for the next phase of Australia’s space capability development,” director Sam Forbes said.
“It builds on and extends Fugro’s already impressive remote operations capability and will help to further diversify the Australian economy.”
Cunnold said SpAARC could become a world-recognised facility for innovation and collaboration.
“SpAARC will encourage more research and development of remote asset management capability and create more diverse high-tech jobs in robotics and automation across all industries including resources, space, defence, agriculture and health,” she said.