Australia is taking a giant leap in space exploration as the federal government announces the selection of the Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE) consortium for Stage 1 of the Trailblazer mission. The mission is a collaboration between the Australian Space Agency (ASA) and NASA. Fugro, a key partner within the AROSE consortium, recently opened Australia’s Space Automation, AI, Robotics Command & control centre (SpAARC) in Perth. SpAARC will be the operational heart of the mission.
The landmark Trailblazer mission will see the design, development, testing, and operation of a lunar foundation services rover; an important Australian contribution to the international Moon-to-Mars programme. The ASA rover’s mission is to collect lunar soil and deliver it to a NASA processing facility on the Moon. This will be the first step to extract oxygen from the Moon’s surface, which will be vital in supporting a sustainable human presence on the Moon, Mars and beyond.
The SpAARC team will lead the Trailblazer project as well as the design of the rover, payload and lunar mission operations. Stage 1 will be complete in 2024 with the current estimated Stage 2 launch date in 2027.
SpAARC Director Sam Forbes expressed enthusiasm about the unique opportunity the mission will bring to Fugro, stating that: “Space is not just a highly challenging environment to work in, it is also the proving ground for robotics, automation, and harsh environment operations. There are already many technological advancements on Earth today that have their origins in space.”
“Collaborating with NASA, ASA and AROSE on this incredible mission, will allow us to demonstrate Australia’s and Fugro’s capability to play a significant role in the emerging space sector. It’s a big opportunity to showcase the unique capability developed in SpAARC, with the world-class facility having only been opened in November 2022.”
This project received grant funding from the Australian government through the ASA. The Western Australian Government is also supporting Stage 1 activities.
Fugro is the world’s leading Geo-data specialist, collecting and analysing comprehensive information about the Earth and the structures built upon it. Adopting an integrated approach that incorporates acquisition and analysis of Geo-data and related advice, Fugro provides solutions. With expertise in site characterisation and asset integrity, clients are supported in the safe, sustainable and efficient design, construction and operation of their assets throughout the full lifecycle.
Employing approximately 10,000 talented people in 57 countries, Fugro serves clients around the globe, predominantly in the energy, infrastructure and water industries, both offshore and onshore. In 2022, revenue amounted to EUR 1.8 billion. Fugro is listed on Euronext Amsterdam.