Adelaide startup Fleet Space Technologies is gearing up for takeoff, signing a deal with orbital launch provider Rocket Lab to launch two of its satellites next month.
Fleet’s two Proxima satellites have been added to the manifest for It’s Business Time, a Rocket Lab mission scheduled for launch in November from the company’s complex on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula.
The launch will leapfrog Fleet’s previously planned launches; the startup in June announced one of its first Centauri satellites had been contracted to take off with launch services and mission management provider Spaceflight, on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
A second, meanwhile, is to be part of Spaceflight’s SSO-A mission, launching on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, with Spaceflight having a contract to launch a collection of small satellites with SpaceX.
With these launches taking place later this year, Flavia Tata Nardini, cofounder and CEO of Fleet Space Technologies, said the startup decided over the last few months to build and launch two more satellites.
“Rocket Lab has moved at the speed of light to incorporate them in this mission, assist us with licensing and complete integration in record time. We will be in space less than few months after making the decision to join the mission. This rapid turnaround time is what the space industry really needs now,” she said.
“To see our first commercial CubeSats launched is an incredibly important milestone for us as a business, and it sets us on the path to achieving our goal of connecting Australia, and the world, in ways like never before.”
With the startup aiming to launch a network of more than 100 nanosatellites to create a global network enabling low-bandwidth connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, Fleet’s constellation will enable satellite connectivity in remote locations.
The nanosatellites work in combination with Fleet’s ground terminal, the Portal, which enables businesses to connect up to a thousand devices to private low power wide area networks (LPWANs) anywhere around the world. Beyond collecting data, the Portal can analyse and select key data for transmission across various satellite service options, including Fleet’s satellite network.
According to Fleet, this will enable the use of IoT for industries working across remote areas, such as mining, logistics, and agriculture, allowing businesses to make data-driven decisions.
It has been a big year for Fleet: the startup in July opened its mission control centre in South Australia.
Located at Red Banks Reservoir in Pinkerton Plains, the ground station will operate 24 hours a day, tracking and receiving data from nanosatellites. Made possible in part by matched funding by the South Australian government, it will also be open to other space startups.
Image: Flavia Tata Nardini. Source: Supplied.