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Tue June 18 2024

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Australian Space Agency picks Fugro for robotics control centre

29 Jun 20 The newly formed Australian Space Agency (ASA) has partnered with Fugro for the design, construction and operation of a robotics control centre.

The Australian Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC) will be built in Western Australia. It will support start-ups, small businesses and researchers in controlling robotics activities in space, including servicing satellites in orbit.

Fugro said that it was picked by ASA on the basis of its track record in remote operations and robotics control in harsh marine environments.

The creation of SpAARC is intended to stimulate domestic space investment and provide new STEM education and diverse employment pathways. New space infrastructure is also expected to lead to job growth in the Australian space sector and adjacent industries through accelerated technology transfer.

ASA head Dr Megan Clark said: “The new space facility will encourage further research and development of remote asset management capabilities for use in space. Fugro is a leader in offshore positioning, inspection and monitoring, and seabed-mapping services, and we are thrilled that the establishment of SpAARC will create more high-tech jobs in robotics and automation to benefit other industries such as mining, agriculture, emergency services and maritime surveillance.”

Mark Heine, CEO of Fugro, said: “We are excited to partner with the ASA on a project of such national importance. Over the last few years, we’ve been rapidly delivering our own digital transformation with a strong focus on remote and autonomous operations and artificial intelligence. This new project is a fantastic opportunity to build on our existing capabilities in satellite positioning and remote operations being applied to robotics in space.”

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