What is Space Infrastructure Fund Mission Control Centre?

The Space Infrastructure Fund: Mission Contol Centre is a grant opportunity to establish a mission control centre on the ground floor of the McEwin Building at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide, South Australia.

 

Background

The Space Infrastructure Fund (SIF) is a $19.5 million investment in seven infrastructure projects to drive the growth of Australia’s space sector.

The projects form an important element of the Advancing Space: Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019-2028, primarily addressing the ‘National’ pillar to increase capability in the sector. They will be developed in locations across Australia, providing investment in multiple states and territories, and building upon Australia’s National Civil Space Priorities and strengths.

The Space Infrastructure Fund: Mission Control Centre grant opportunity is an open, competitive grant opportunity that will award a single grant to establish a mission control centre on the ground floor of the McEwin Building at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide. The mission control centre will complement the new home of the Australian Space Agency and will be closely linked to the Australian Space Discovery Centre (also located on the ground floor of the McEwin building). It is not intended that the Australian Space Agency own or operate the centre.

 

Objectives

The objectives of this grant opportunity are to:

  • establish a platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) (including start-ups) and researchers to control small satellite missions, national or international joint missions, access space-enabled data, and participate in training, research, development and testing
  • support the Australian Space Agency in national and international joint missions
  • provide an opportunity for Australian industry to be involved in developing a mission control facility
  • provide an enduring operating model for industry and other organisations to access the capability of the mission control centre, including beyond the last instalment of Australian Government funding in 2021-22
  • inspire and educate the public through engagement and coordination with the Australian Space Discovery Centre and other complementary facilities on the ground floor of the McEwin Building (for example, allowing direct public viewing of mission control activities under
    controlled conditions when appropriate)
  • provide a model for users of the mission control centre to access (buy, build, lease or other) dish capability, through the centre procuring its own dishes or using existing and planned dishes around Australia, its territories and the world through appropriate connectivity
  • provide for connectivity between the mission control centre, computing infrastructure, and dishes in a way that is flexible to the needs of missions in terms of bandwidth, resiliency, duration, and the number of dishes that can simultaneously connect to the mission control centre
  • offer the required security and data integrity environment to conduct space operations.

The intended outcomes of the grant opportunity are:

  • increased availability and capability for SMEs/researchers to utilise mission control facilities
  • increased participation of SMEs/researchers in space activities and missions
  • increased use of space enabled data across different sectors.

 

Funding

For this grant opportunity, a single grant of $6 million will be awarded.

The grant amount will be up to 100% of project costs, however we expect that to be competitive you will provide some additional contribution.

 

Eligible Projects

The mission control centre must be capable of scaling to support the following activities:

  • enable users to access dish capability to communicate to (control and command) and from (downloading data) satellites and other space craft
  • provide connectivity between the centre and dishes in a way that is flexible to the needs of missions in terms of bandwidth, resiliency, duration, and the number of dishes that can simultaneously be connected
  • offer the required security and data integrity environment to conduct space operations
  • host a knowledge base for standards, best practices and lessons learned (Space Mission Community of Practice)
  • provide the following capabilities:
    • acquire and track satellites
    • track vehicles and payloads launched from Australia
    • support Australian missions for flexible durations, including once only, regular intervals or ongoing
    • ability to connect to international space agencies for joint missions
    • ability to scale to support missions in all orbits: low, middle and geostationary Earth orbits as well as Deep Space
    • perform downlink and uplink communications for data exchange and satellite control
    • display non-sensitive data through a public interface available to visitors of the Australian Space Discovery Centre
    • ability to acquire and display live video feed from space (e.g. the International Space Station and the Lunar Gateway).
  • Support activities that expand Australian space industry capability and capacity, and explore avenues that involve Australian businesses or Australian products and services. Some examples of such activities are as follows:
    • Research and development (R&D)
    • Training
    • Testing and validation
    • Collaborative R&D.

Eligible activities may include:

  • working with the Australian Space Agency and the Australian space industry to establish suitable mission control capability requirements
  • preparing a functional design brief or equivalent
  • purchasing hardware (screens, cables, furniture, antennas, fibre optic links, other ICT etc.) and software to run the required programs
  • hiring appropriate staff and contractors to fit-out and operate the centre
  • managing the security requirements for the centre, including its public elements
  • establishing connectivity with existing and planned satellite dishes
  • operating, managing and controlling the centre for the grant funding period
  • establishing a financially self-sustaining operating model
  • promoting use of, and facilitating access to, the centre by SMEs and researchers
  • providing access to space enabled data, including for Space Situational Awareness (SSA)
  • organising and managing training activities in conjunction with universities/schools.

The program may also approve other activities.

Eligible expenditure items are:

  • capital expenditure for the purchase of assets related to the mission control centre
  • building modifications, where the modification is required to undertake the project
  • establishment costs including fit-out, hardware and furnishings
  • software costs directly related to the project
  • direct labour costs of employees you directly employ on the core elements of the