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Grants open for Australian space infrastructure project

Stephen Kuper

The Australian Space Agency has announced the launch of a grant opportunity to support the establishment of the Mission Control Centre at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide.

Grants open for Australian space infrastructure project
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The grant opportunity will award a single grant of $6 million to establish the Mission Control Centre.

This centre will allow start-ups, small to medium enterprises, and researchers to control satellite missions and access space-enabled data.

The Space Infrastructure Fund is a $19.5 million investment in seven infrastructure projects to drive the growth of Australia’s space sector.

The Robotics, Automation and AI Command and Control Centre grant opportunity will award a single grant of $4.5 million to establish the Robotics, Automation and AI Command and Control Centre in Western Australia. 

This centre will allow start-ups, small to medium enterprises, and researchers to control autonomous operations in space.

Filling gaps in Australia’s space infrastructure allows businesses and researchers to focus on growing and developing their day-to-day operations, and providing space-related solutions to drive economic benefit across the whole economy.

It is aimed to provide new tools for farmers, supporting emergency services and helping manage drought. It also provides the tools businesses need to access international opportunities – opening doors for Australia internationally.

The projects form an important element of the Australian Civil Space Strategy, primarily addressing the ‘national’ pillar to increase capability in the sector. They will be developed in locations across Australia, providing investment in multiple states and territories, and building upon Australia’s National Civil Space Priorities and strengths.

Project to be delivered as part of the $19.5 million Space Infrastructure Fund include: 

  • Space manufacturing facilities (NSW, $2 million): Supporting the delivery of future space manufacturing capability, and development of high-tech skills and new space objects.
  • Mission control (SA, $6 million): A platform for SMEs and researchers to control small satellite missions, enabling real-time testing and accelerated improvement of satellite technology.
  • Tracking facilities upgrade (Tas, $1.2 million): Upgrading infrastructure to support precision tracking of satellites and spacecraft.
  • Robotics, automation and AI command and control (WA, $4.5 million): Allowing SMEs and researchers control over autonomous operations in space; building capability in space technologies.
  • Space data analysis facilities (WA, $1.5 million): Providing SMEs and researchers with space data analysis capability for agriculture, mining, emergency services and maritime surveillance.
  • Space payload qualification facilities ($2.5 million): Providing capability for SMEs and researchers to test space equipment and have it mission-ready in Australia.
  • Pathway to launch ($0.9 million): Undertake work to address the active interest and growing readiness in industry for launch in Australia, while ensuring safety on Earth and in space.

Through this investment the Australian government is growing a competitive and sustainable industry. This will help support the creation of another 20,000 jobs and contribute to tripling the size of the Australian space sector to $12 billion by 2030.

Applications close 5pm AEDT Tuesday, 4 February 2020. Find out how to apply for the Mission Control Centre grant opportunity here and the Robotics, Automation and AI Command and Control Centre grant here.

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