However, an Australian-based company is working to change that.
Founded in 2008, Saber Astronautics aims to help people turn their ideas “from a napkin sketch to a space flight.”
Saber provides a range of mission design, pre-flight, diagnostics, and operations services, drawing on 4 research and development laboratories. It also operates the Responsive Space Operations Center (RSOC) located in Adelaide. RSOC is Australia’s first National Mission Control Centre. It is one of seven projects supported by the Australian Space Agency’s Space Infrastructure Fund.
Saber has worked with major organizations such as NASA, the US Space Force and the Australian Defense Force. Now, the company is helping new space enterprises get off the ground by designing an innovative program.
Open Galactic provides an easy-to-use link between satellites and mission control centers. The project is supported by an expansion capacity grant of $788,000. An early version focusing on the ground station control code was published in March 2022.
Fast-tracking space revenues
Saber CEO Dr. Jason Held says Open Galactic is speeding up the spaceflight process for new space companies, allowing them to start generating revenue faster.
“Connecting a satellite to Mission Control takes a lot of hard work. Open Galactic lightens the burden by providing a basic middleware framework for getting people started.”
The software is designed to be affordable, with some items offered for free. It is open source, which means that companies can customize and adapt the code to suit their needs. It also allows users to mix products from different suppliers to support their tasks.
“We’re trying to do the opposite of vendor lock; we want people to share information, and give us a chance to grow together,” says Jason.
Open Galactic makes it easy to access space with streamlined operations. This has the potential to inspire more satellite companies and more revenue in the growing Australian space market.
Delivery on the international stage
Saber Open Galactic launches a series of missions in the near term. This includes Toleman, a space telescope mission with connections to several international space agencies and research organizations. The Toleman mission is planned for 2023.
Open Galactic will support TOLIMAN’s pre-flight integration and testing, as well as a year of on-orbit operations while spacecraft explore planets around Alpha Centauri.
Toleman’s journey will be highly visual and exciting involving researchers and engineers from the European Union and scientists from the United States of America. “It’s a really international union,” says Jason.
“A successful flight is really the measure that people use to have confidence in a new product for the space industry. Therefore, we will use TOLIMAN and other flights to support the acceptance of Open Galactic in the marketplace.”