News & Analysis

The federal government is backing WA to build an AI mission control base so robots can explore space

- July 10, 2019 < 1 MIN READ

The Australian government has signed a deal with the Western Australian government to spend $6 million developing the state’s space sector.

The Morrison government wants to triple the size of the Australian space sector to $12 billion and create another 20,000 jobs by 2030.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Federal Science Minister Karen Andrews and WA Science Minister Dave Kelly, $4.5 million will go towards a robotics and artificial intelligence mission control facility to advance the remote operation of autonomous and robotic systems in space.

Another $1.5 million is for space data analysis facilities to support analysis of satellite data for areas such as mining, agriculture, emergency services and maritime surveillance, as well as building capability in data analysis for space missions.

The WA government has allocated $2 million towards the state’s partnership with the Australian Space Agency (ASA) and says further funding will be considered in future budgets.

ASA boss Dr Megan Clark welcomed the agreement between the Commonwealth and the state.

“WA hosts significant civil and defence space infrastructure including the recently opened Airbus Zephyr flight base, has existing collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency, and will support the Agency’s role in strengthening Australia’s relationship with these and other international space agencies,” Dr Clark said.

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