Australia’s Department of Defence has awarded space engineering company Saber Astronautics a Defence Innovation Hub contract for an intelligent data fusion network to process a large number of space objects.
The contract, valued at AUD $2.1M (US$1.4m) will use new and existing sensor networks to provide advanced insights in Space Domain Awareness (SDA) and democratise access to spacecraft location data.
The contract will address the spacecraft-identification needs of businesses, governments, and even hobbyists and support existing sensors that find objects in space, including telescopes and radars. To that end, Saber will use machine learning and data fusion algorithms to merge different sensor types into a single solution, and deploy early technology tests by mid-2020.
“We even found hobby astronomy groups getting in on the action,” says Saber Astronautics CEO Dr Jason Held. “New satellite companies in the USA and Canada often call Australian astronomers, stressed because they couldn’t find their satellite and needed help.”
“This contract represents the beginning of a truly collaborative Space Domain Awareness capability that can encompass many ground-based observations which dozens of cutting-edge companies generate every day,”explained Saber Astronautics Director Andreas Antoniades. “This project will help everyone have safer missions, protect the planet, and assist with the growing problem of space traffic management.”