Australian Space Agency selects Fugro-led AROSE consortium for lunar rover mission

March 21, 2023
The mission is a collaboration between the Australian Space Agency (ASA) and NASA.

PERTH, Australia - The Australian federal government has announced 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 partner within the AROSE consortium based in Leidschendam, Netherlands, recently opened Australia's Space Automation, AI, Robotics Command & control center (SpAARC) in Perth. SpAARC will be the operational heart of the mission.

The 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 program. 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.

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