WA universities and industry enjoy state’s space ambitions

By Melissa Coade

April 11, 2022

space walk
The WA government has given the state’s space industry a $6.5 million injection. (dottedyeti/Adobe)

The Western Australian government has given the state’s space industry a $6.5 million injection for a locally-based consortium and a research program at Curtin University.

The funding will be over the next four years; $4 million will go to the WA-based Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE), and $2.5 million is for Curtin’s Binar (the Noongar word for ‘fireball’) space program

Minister for science and state development Roger Cook said the money, allocated in WA’s upcoming budget, would support the state’s economic development framework, known as Diversify WA.

“Space is just one of the many exciting industries taking off in WA and it’s important that the WA government continues to support local space research,” Cook said. 

“This announcement is not just a boost in funding but a boost in confidence about WA’s role in the global space sector.” 

AROSE is a not-for-profit industry-led consortium with headquarters in Perth. Its goal is to make WA a leader of remote operations. Cook said the consortium was set on deploying a remote lunar rover on the Moon. 

The government’s co-investment for the Binar Space Program will also support the AROSE consortium’s activities and Fugro’s Space Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Control Complex (SpAARC).

According to Cook, since Binar’s inception in 2017 the program has developed a highly skilled workforce in the design, engineering, manufacturing and operation of space technology and small satellites.

Last August, Curtin University launched the Binar-1 spacecraft, which is currently orbiting 400 kilometres above Earth providing information on spacecraft operation and performance. The university has plans to launch six more CubeSat spacecraft in the next 18 months to form WA’s first satellite constellation.

The funding will enable local start-ups and small to medium-sized enterprises to test their technology in space for commercialisation, as well as for training students in the development, testing and operation of spacecraft, the minister added. 

“Both AROSE and Curtin University’s Binar Space Program have truly reignited WA’s passion for space and this funding will ensure both programs can continue the important work that they do well into the future,” Cook said.


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