2014 16 June 2014 – Saber Astronautics Receives NASA SBIR Award to Develop Self-Correcting Spacecraft Avionics

Saber Astronautics received a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant in the amount of $120,000 from NASA. The six-month grant will fund research in a new generation of spacecraft avionics which can self-diagnose and autonomously correct for various problems which can occur in space. These “Operationally Responsive” spacecraft have a wide range of applications for space and aviation. Deep space missions, such as asteroid mining and trips to Mars, will have limited contact with spacecraft operators so any repair must happen onboard. The ability to auto-diagnose will keep astronauts safe on their journey, and keep spacecraft systems fully operational.


27 March 2014 – Saber Astronautics Launches Australian-Indian Space Collaboration Program

Saber Astronautics has been awarded $45k to run a joint Australian-Indian program of space operations activities. The program aims to build professional ties between space innovation teams. The grant includes use of Saber’s Responsive Space Operations Centre (RSOC) in Sydney, Australia for a range of scientific and technical demonstration projects of interest to Australia and Indian space researchers.

Funding for the program is from the Australian Government through the Australia-India Council, which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.



19 February 2014 – DragEN Tether Deployer Passes Parabolic Flight Tests

DragEN recently completed its first round of parabolic flight testing. The DragEn was selected for funding by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, which is paying for its flight due to the agency's interest in maturing its technology. Zero-gravity tests were performed on a modified Boeing 727 out of Ellington Field, Houston. The aircraft flew a total of 46 periods parabolas during which time we measured the speed and stability of the DragEN's deployment in zero gravity to ensure that it will effectively operate in space. The tether deployed exactly as expected, rolling out smoothly without snagging. This is an important demonstration of our design since other tethers have been plagued by incomplete roll-outs caused by tangling.


2013 5 November 2013 – Saber Astronautics Joins the World Technology Network

The World Technology Network (The WTN) recently announced Saber Astronautics as a finalist for a prestigious 2013 World Technology Award in the Space category. We join a roster of 50 corporate Finalists (in 10 categories) and 100 individual Finalists (in 20 categories) deemed by members of the WTN to be doing the “most innovative work of the greatest likely long term significance."

Other finalists include Deep Space Industries, NASA JPL, Honeybee Robotics, and SpaceX.

29 October 2013: Space Operations Deal Signed with Southern Stars.

Starting in December, we will be ready to provide services for the Southern Stars Group's new "SkyCube" satellite. SkyCube, funded by a successful kickstarter round last year, is missioned to service the education market with imagery and tweets from space. Saber Astronautics will relay customer data, commands, and monitor satellite health directly to the SkyCube network from our lab in Chippendale.


15 August 2013: Saber Astronautics Joins the Australian Technology Showcase.

We are pleased to announce that after many months of formal review we have been accepted into the NSW Trade & Investment's prestigious Australian Technology Showcase (ATS). ATS will support two of our technologies, the de-orbiting device DragEN and the Predictive Groundstation Project. ATS provides funding for travel and promotional support through their vast international network of high technology companies.

18 June 2013: Saber Astronautics selected for NASA 2013 parabolic flight campaign

NASA's Flight Opportunities Program has selected the DragEN Tether Deployer to fly on their 2013 sponsored microgravity flight campaign. We have tests planned to measure deployment, rollout, and breaking of the tether to validate the behaviours we expect in space. DragEN has our first spaceflight scheduled at the start of next year. The press release is here.


10 May 2013: Saber Astronautics Wins a TechVoucher for Space Operations

We are pleased to announce that the New South Wales Department of Innovation approved a TechVoucher for the Predictive Groundstation Project. The TechVoucher will fund a collaboration with the University of Sydney to upgrade their SATCOM station for use by our Mission Control. This is to support our first operations service customers coming online at the end of the year. Stay tuned...

29 January 2013: Saber Astronautics Wins a Grant to Foster AUS-Indian Collaboration in Space

The Australian Government, through the Australian-India Council, recently awarded Saber Astronautics a grant to build collaboration and foster new relationships between Australian and Indian academics interested in space. A delegation from Saber Astronautics will travel to Manipal in early February to support Manipal's students and prepare integration with the satellite. You can read the press release here.


2012 3 November 2012: Manipal's Use of DragEN Wins Top Poster Prize at ASSC 2012

Congratulations to the Manipal students for winning the top poster prize at this year's Australian Space Science Conference (ASSC)! The conference was held at RMIT University in Melbourne. This was the sixth ASSC jointly sponsored and organised by the National Committee for Space Science (NCSS) and the National Space Society of Australia (NSSA). The ASSC has become the premier meeting for Australian space science research. Winning the prize speaks to the high degree of skill applied by the Parikshit team.


15 August 2012: The DragEN Tether Deployer To Ride on an Indian Satellite

We are happy to announce the sale of our first DragEN Tether unit to Manipal Institute of Technology. The Manipal Institute’s team in collaboration with Saber Astronautics is incorporating DragEN as a payload into their Parikshit (http://parikshit.manipalsat.org/home/) research satellite. At the end of its 1-year mission, the yo-yo shaped DragEN will deploy, unrolling 200 meters of a special conductive string which interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field. This gently pulls the spacecraft back to earth, clearing the area for new satellites.


19 June 2012: Finalists in the $110,000 NewSpace 2012 Business Plan Competition

Saber Astronautics was chosen as a finalist in the 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition. The annual event selects the ten best space startups to pitch their business to top Silicon Valley investors. The companies are vying for a $100k first prize and a $10k second prize. We are very excited for this chance to showcase our capabilities, which can provide novel benefits to the space operations field.


18 June 2012: Joint Saber-CSIRO Team Shows Excellence in the 2012 RoboCup Challenge

CSIRO-ICT and Saber Astronautics showed our brain power by placing in the semi-finals at the 2012 international RoboCup Challenge. Our team “Gliders” represented Australia in this world-class research competition. RoboCup promotes the transition of novel technological advances from the laboratory to the real world. The RoboCup2D simulation division focuses on advancing new methods of path planning, strategy, and team theory. Gliders also placed 2nd in the Eindoven Regional competition in May.

Gliders was formed only a few months before the competition, so this was a surprising result against better funded and longer standing teams from China, Germany, Romania, Japan, Brazil, and Iran.

Here is a White Paper on the science.

2011 22 Nov 2011: Our Thanks to NASA ACE!<

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is giving us housekeeping telemetry from their satellite, the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE). ACE is an important satellite used by space weather prediction services around the world. Saber Astronautics is using the data in our research to make spacecraft easier to operate and more responsive to dangerous situations. Many thanks to NASA and especially the ACE operations team for providing this critical data!

27 Oct 2011: Featured in Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine

Continuing the popularity of the Vostok Space Beer project, Saber Astronautics was featured along with our friends at the 4-Pines Brewery in this awesome article by Bloomberg Magazine. This story was also in the magazine's October print edition.

26 Sept 2011: Presenting at Australian Space Science Conference

Dr. Daniel Bunker presented an electrodynamic tether deployment system for picosatellites at the 2011 ASSC conference. The tether deployer is a preflight prototype useful for clean deorbit of a small satellite. We also discussed how it can be modified for use in future satellites for supplementary electric power and as a space environment sensor. Saber Astronautics is producing the tether deployer to support international research in space physics such as the QB50 Constellation. The deployer is available as a preflight prototype.

15 Aug 2011: Internship Program Begins

Our new internship program started on our predictive ground station. There are three internship rounds per year, in collaboration with university schedules. Positions are available in space weather, systems, and software engineering (C++ and graphics). Applications from students are very high quality, from the USA, India, UK, and across Australia.

21 June 2011: Saber Astronautics in the News

Massive international media has come our way due to the wide popularity of Vostok Space Beer. To date are nearly 380 news articles in over a dozen countries around the world. Some great stories by Reuters, Forbes, and Space.com. In Australia, this was the #1 most clicked story on the day the video was released. A great story featured on ABC Catalyst also presents the project very well.

26 Feb 2011: Vostok Space beer completes 0-g flight test

The flight experiment was completed today on Zero Gravity Corporation's (ZERO-G) modified 727 aircraft flying in parabolic arcs for sets of 30-second of 0-g time. On each arc, the test subject drank a sample of beer while experiencing the full range from nearly twice Earth gravity (1.8g) down to zero. Equivalent to “shaking the beer inside the drinker”, the test was designed to exceed normal conditions that a person in space would experience, in order to agitate the carbonation. Results successfully validated the beer’s recipe and gave our first data points in understanding how the human body metabolises alcohol in microgravity.

18 Jan 2011: Presenting Vostok to the 2011 Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC)

For those interested in the scientific results from Vostok Space Beer, we have been accepted to present at the 2011 NSRC conference at University of Central Florida Feb 28 – Mar 2, 2011. The conference aims to bring together researchers from government, industry, and academia to learn about new crewed space vehicles that are low-cost access to space. We will overview our research plan and initial experiment results.

2010 31 October 2010: Invited Lightning Talk at the NASA Synthetic Biology Workshop

Saber Astronautics Australia presented our work in Systems of Systems engineering at the NASA Ames Synthetic Biology Workshop. This invite only event aimed to develop the potential of synthetic biology in NASA's mission. The Saber Astronautics invite was to help detail how existing quantitative analytical techniques could be applied to a synthetic biological system for use in space missions. This is the type of analysis needed to compare biological systems with chemical and physical systems.

1 October 2010: New Project Announcement-- Vostok Space Beer

What started as a bit of fun with our favorite microbrewery evolved into a very interesting spin-off. We are organizing testing to make Vostok the first beer recipe designed and certified for drinking in space. Humanity has had beer before we've had writing so it's a fitting continuation of the traditions of exploration. We conducted drop tower testing with the Queensland University of Technology and are booked for a 0-g parabolic flight in February with our friends at AstronautsForHire. This will be humanity's first formal experiment on alcohol absorption in microgravity. Vostok is bottled and sold across Australia, with plans to expand to the USA. The story went viral in October with over 130 articles, blogs, and radio interviews across the world. Check it out here: Vostok Space Beer

28 July 2010: Saber Astronautics Australia Shortlisted as a finalist at Tech23

We are very happy to announce that Saber Astronautics Australia was listed as a finalist in the Tech23 conference in Sydney. Tech23 chooses the top 23 up-and-coming Australian businesses each year to present a 5-minute pitch to potential investors, government, research, and industry. This year, we were chosen out of 150 other applicants and the sole space engineering startup to present our work on the Predictive Interactive Ground station Interface.

21 May 2010: Saber Astronautics key presenter at The First Australasian Workshop on Computation in Cyber-Physical Systems (CompCPS-2010)

Our own Dr. Held will represent Saber Astronautics as an invited speaker to CompCPS-2010. The workshop builds on knowledge and practical experience in embedded systems, sensor networks, multi-robot teams, and evolvable/adaptive hardware. Dr. Held will present our latest advances in CPS from the perspective of applying non- linear state space modelling in Systems of Systems.

11 Feb 2010: Saber Astronautics Invited by NSSA to present at the PowerHouse Museum

It is confirmed: Saber Astronautics is presenting CoW at the Powerhouse Museum on 16 March 2010. The CoW presentation is significant because it will present the baseline simulator and engine which has dual-use potential for the game as well as our real-world efforts in spacecraft groundstation interfaces. We will highlight the developmental differences and are very much looking forward to the valuable feedback NSSA can provide.

The Early Days... 30 September 2009: Early CoW results presented at the 2009 ASSC

Through our new sister company, Saber Astronautics Australia, the demonstration version of CoW was presented at the 2009 Australian Space Science Conference, organized by the NSSA and the National Committee for Space Science (NCSS). An early demonstration and feedback approach to CoW's development is important for us to form linkages with the science community, in order to have highest impact as a STEM product.

17 April 2009: CoW Endorsed by NSSA and MSA

We are very happy to report that 'Conquest of the Milky Way' has the full endorsementof the National Space Society Australia and the Mars Society Australia! The NSSA and MSA are both non-profit organizations which run space related events throughout Australia and are key channels to area space enthusiasts and education groups. The Mars Society Australia is an incorporated non-profit organization registered as an approved research institute by the CSIRO and part of the worldwide movement supporting research and development for the planet Mars. We are very proud to have their support.

Mars Society Australia.


12 March 2009: Saber Astronautics Sponsors David Haslam of HMSI

We are now the official sponsors for HMSI Inc's David Haslam on his educational speaking tour. For those who don't know him, David's dedication to Michigan education is unparalleled and his proven public speaking expertise brings great credit to himself and HMSI Inc. Even in the roughest times, David fearlessly and tirelessly spearheads the efforts to improve public education and his society. He is a true pioneer and we are proud to be associated with him. On behalf of Saber Astronautics LLC., we thank you for this opportunity to help sponsor your 2009 speaking tour.

31 October 2008: Saber Astronautics Selected to Present 3D Game Technology to NASA

After extensive review by internal and external experts, NASA Learning Technologies and the Innovative Program Office selected the Saber Astronautics team as one of three finalists to present 'Conquest of the Milky Way' (CoW) at NASA Goddard on November 7th.

We are very proud to be one of only three teams chosen out of 178 entries in the competition. It speaks volumes about our talent and our people. Our expertise and ability to integrate NASA science data into the game was specifically noted during the review, as well as the financial viability of the product.

We are very excited for the opportunity to support the space industry by educating, motivating, and inspiring our industry's future. For us at Saber Astronautics, we are honored to be in their final consideration.

6 August 2008: Saber Astronautics to present PIGI results at Space2008 Conference

Saber Astronautics will be presenting a "System of Systems" approach to measuring the performance of lunar base designs at the Space2008 Conference in San Diego California 9-11 September. This project (a subset of PIGI) aims to model all aspects of a lunar base in order to create the most efficient and robust design based on how well its individual systems perform as a whole. This type of "real world" modeling enables engineers to foresee how a lunar base might function under any combination of scenarios including a space weather event, power outage, structural breech, life support system failure, etc. This paper was a collaboration with the University of Stuttgart's Institut für Raumfahrtsysteme (IRS).

25 July 2008: Saber Astronautics Proposals Make Finals in Mars Project Challenge

The Mars Society has a need for new ideas and we at Saber Astronautics rose to the challenge. The winning proposal, designed for the $10 million range, will provide direction for the Mars Society’s future research direction and inspire its members. Their previous project, the Mars Analogue programs (such as the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station), was a worldwide success and it is our pleasure to contribute our ideas to their cause. Both proposals were accepted as finalists. We will be presenting at the Mars Society conference in Boulder Colorado, 14-17 August 2008. Briefs are provided below.


MOSOC, or Mars Open Source Operations Commander, is a command and data handling system designed to automate operations for a habitat and crew on another planet. Using a network of computers and sensors, MOSOC monitors the location and vitals of crew members, subsystems, and mission-related logistics (such as food and water). The MOSOC server on Earth broadcasts telemetry over the Web as a multiplexed datastream. MOSOC will be open source allowing anyone on the Internet to contribute to its development.

MOSOC Diagram


For a manned mission to Mars, artificial gravity could mean the difference between arriving with a crew ready for adventure, or a crew struggling to walk. The challenge is to design a spacecraft large enough for the gravitational effect, yet compact enough to be launchable using conventional rockets. The solution: a component, interfaced to a human-rated spacecraft, designed to tumble it through space.

The payload module and propulsion module are tethered to a central hub. The hub extends or retracts modules gradually changing gravitational effects during flight in order to acclimate astronauts to their destination. The project scales from nanosat-sized demonstrators, all the way up to a full-size manned spacecraft.

Tumbler diagram

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