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Saber Astronautics to develop Australian Space Agency Mission Control Centre

Stephen Kuper

The Australian Space Agency and the Department of Industry, Science, Innovation and Resources have awarded Sydney-based Saber Astronautics a $6 million grant for the development of Australia’s Mission Control Centre. This project received grant funding from the Australian government’s Space Infrastructure Fund.

Saber Astronautics to develop Australian Space Agency Mission Control Centre
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Branded as the 'Responsive Space Operations Centre' (or RSOC for short), Saber will bring next-generation space mission control technologies to make it easier to fly new spacecraft. 

Capabilities include concurrent design, pre-flight testing, launch support, as well as live operations during flight. The RSOC will also be the first professional control centre in the world to use machine learning in spacecraft day-to-day operations along with 3D gaming technologies.

The RSOC will sit on the ground floor of the McEwin Building at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide and have a baseline capability ready in six months. This complements the new home of the Australian Space Agency and will work closely with to the Australian Space Discovery Centre, providing education to the general public on the importance of Australia’s growing aspirations in space, as well as exciting STEM opportunities.

Saber Astronautics chief executive Dr Jason Held welcomed the announcement and the milestone moment in Australia's pursuit of the a modern space industry and capability. 

"Running Australia’s new Mission Control Centre is one of the most exciting opportunities we’ve ever had. It shows that the Australian Space Agency as a brand new space program is indeed looking to do business differently, tackle the hard problems, and make a serious play for space. For Saber Astronautics, this is nothing less than our dream job," Dr Held explained. 

Australians will be able to design their missions in the same place that they will fly, and gain new missions access to advanced operational capabilities.

The RSOC is supported by a select marketplace of telescopes and dish networks to track Australia’s future fleet of spacecraft. This will be a new model for the Australian space community to access dish capability from suppliers worldwide.

Saber Astronautics will also engage with Deloitte as its preferred service provider to design secure business models relating to this marketplace. Deloitte will also provide expertise in cyber security and experience design to help Saber realise its vision for Australia’s Mission Control Centre.

Deloitte Australia’s lead partner for space advisory, Steve Rayment, said, "We are excited to be bringing the breadth of Deloitte’s global capabilities to support Saber in accelerating commercial innovation in the Australian space sector.

"As we have shown with the Gravity Challenge, Deloitte is strongly committed to bringing together innovators with the public and private sectors to create new business opportunities in space. We are delighted to be working with Saber, a leader in mission operations."

Once completed, the RSOC will support day-to-day mission control for small and medium enterprises, using Saber's technologies to reduce risk for investors. Australia has nearly 100 new space companies formed in the last three years and the Space Agency has the goal of growing to a $12 billion industry by 2030.

"We are extraordinarily pleased to have so much support from national and international capability to help propel Australia’s mission control capability to the next level.This collaboration and grant opportunity brings together pioneering space companies, universities and government institutions to help build the future for our nation in space," said Saber’s Australian director, Andreas Antoniades. 

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