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WA invests $5m more in SpAARC autonomous facility

The Western Australian government has invested a further $5 million into a Perth facility that tests autonomous technology for space use.

SpAARC, overseen by geodata company Fugro, was set up last year to support new space robotics projects, including NASA’s return to the moon.

The opening of the formally titled Space Automation AI and Robotics Control Complex was one of the key objectives of the ASA’s Robotics and Automation on Earth and in Space Roadmap to 2030.

The new funding comes on top of the federal government initially investing over $4.5 million into the project and the Western Australian government making an earlier commitment of $3.5 million.


SpAARC’s director, Fugro’s Sam Forbes, said, “Space has always been a hotbed of innovation in robotics, automation, and harsh environment operations.

“This additional support significantly improves our ability to lead in this dynamic field, while also furthering the unique remote and autonomous capabilities we’re working on at SpAARC and more widely within Fugro.

Roger Cook, the Western Australia premier, made the funding announcement at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth on the morning of the opening of IPSEC 2023, Perth’s Indo-Pacific Space and Earth Conference for leaders in space and cross-sector technologies.


Cook said his state was “seizing the opportunity” to turn Western Australia into a global hub for space and technology.

“Leveraging WA’s high-tech robotics and remote operations sector, Fugro SpAARC will capitalise on our significant space infrastructure and capabilities to position WA as the Southern Hemisphere’s global hub for space operations and exploration.”

This announcement follows Fugro’s recently publicised involvement in the AROSE consortium for Stage 1 of the Trailblazer mission.

Earlier this year, the federal government announced it would grant the Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE) consortium and the EPE and Lunar Outpost Oceania consortium $4 million each to develop prototypes for lunar rovers.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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