The Australian Department of Defence has awarded space engineering company Saber Astronautics an ‘Innovation Contract’ for the development of technology that can autonomously identify electronic threats, according to a Saber Astronautics Press Release.
This contract, valued at $275,000, is the first phase of a three-phase project using Saber’s advanced machine learning capability. Aside from Defence applications, commercial uses of the technology can enable better communications between spacecraft operators and their satellites, especially during disruptive events such as solar flares.
The contract comes at a time when Australians are thinking more about space and related applications. Adelaide is hosting the International Astronautical Congress in September and the government is discussing the future direction of their space industry.
“This is great timing as it allows us to develop a key technology for secure communications at exactly the time that the Australian market is heating up,” said Dr Jason Held, Saber Astronautics’ Director and CEO. “Commercial small satellites are more susceptible to solar storms but still need to produce clean data for customers on Earth. We’re particularly excited to explore this potential more broadly with the Australian Air Force.”
Saber Astronautics specialises in applying machine learning to diagnostics, having demonstrated the technology previously on several NASA and commercial spacecraft. Using the technology to diagnose signals is a new application.
This is one of eight contracts awarded by the Defence Innovation Hub to give Australian Defence access to groundbreaking technology.