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Fugro opens space robotics and AI facility in Australia

Fugro has officially opened the Australian Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex, better known as SpAARC.

Located in Perth’s central business district, this new “world-class facility” is a joint initiative by the Australian Space Agency, the Western Australia Government, and Fugro.

SpAARC is Fugro’s largest remote operations centre to date and will manage robotics and other harsh-environment remote operations in Australia, around the world and in space.

It builds on Fugro’s advanced remote operations expertise and is set to improve Australian space missions by creating a scalable and accessible industry operating standard. SpAARC will also facilitate complex missions for Australian industries and researchers, including the remote operation of autonomous and robotic systems in space.

The Australian Government committed funding to SpAARC through its Space Infrastructure Fund as part of the Australian Space Agency’s mission to triple the size of the local sector to AUD 12 billion ($7.6 billion) and create 20,000 jobs by 2030.

The initiative also received funding from the Western Australia Government and forms part of the Perth City Deal Program; the new complex will support local job creation, research and innovation, and the development of a Western Australia space industry ecosystem.

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, says: “Space is a critical component of Australia’s growing ecosystem of cross-cutting technologies such as robotics, advanced manufacturing, and artificial intelligence.

“Australia already excels in large-scale remote asset management and Earth-based robotics in harsh environments – and by investing in infrastructure like SpAARC, the Agency is creating a unique opportunity for our organisations to grow into new global markets.”

Western Australia Deputy Premier Roger Cook says: “Leveraging Western Australia’s high-tech remote operations sector, SpAARC will capitalise on our significant space infrastructure and capabilities to position Western Australia as the Southern Hemisphere’s premier hub for space operations and exploration.”

Fugro’s SpAARC Director, Samuel Forbes, says: “Fugro SpAARC is an opportunity to diversify the Australian economy. By building on and extending Fugro’s already impressive remote operations expertise, this foundational infrastructure underpins the next phase of development to support Australia and the world’s most important space missions.”

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