Australia’s space industry has taken another step forward with Federal government awarding Sydney-based Saber Astronautics a $6m grant to develop a mission control centre at the space agency’s Adelaide headquarters.

The Australian Space Agency, officially launched in October 2108, aims to create 200,000 Australian jobs and triple the value of the local industry to $12b annually. Globally, the industry is estimated to be worth $345b each year.

Saber’s grant comes from the $19.5m Space Infrastructure Fund established in the Federal government’s 2019 budget and follows a $150m deal with NASA last September that will see Australia contribute to the US Moon to Mars space program.

Dr Jason Held, CEO of Saber, said, “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.”

Saber develops mission operations software, space data services and visualisation tools for space companies from its Sydney headquarters.

The new facility, branded the ‘Responsive Space Operations Centre', aims to develop technologies making it easier to fly new spacecraft along with design and pre-flight testing.

RSOC will also provide launch support, as well as live operations during flight, being the first professional control centre in the world to use machine learning and 3D gaming technology in day-to-day spaceflight operations.

The centre, on the ground floor of Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen McEwin Building is expected to have a base capability ready in six months and will work closely with to the Australian Space Discovery Centre to provide education on the importance of Australia’s growing space aspirations in space and STEM opportunities.

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.

Once completed the RSOC will also support day-to-day mission control for small and medium space enterprises, helping reduce risk for investors in the sector. Australia has nearly 100 new space companies formed in the last three years.

“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”, said Saber’s Australian Director, Andreas Antoniades.

“This collaboration and grant opportunity brings together pioneering space companies, universities and government institutions to help build the future for our nation in space.”