South Australian nanosatellite company Myriota has added former NASA astronaut Pamela Melroy to its board as a non-executive director.
Melroy began her career as a pilot in the United States Air Force before joining NASA, where she was the second woman to command a NASA space shuttle mission.
She has since worked for organisations including the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DAPRA), an agency of the US Department of Defense, and is now Director of Space Technology and Policy for Adelaide firm Nova Systems.
“The industrialisation of space is improving the world’s ability to monitor and communicate globally, and is having real world benefits on industries including agriculture and logistics,” Melroy said.
“Myriota is a serious player in the diverse and growing global space ecosystem, and I’m excited to be joining its board at a time when the maturity of space as a commercial industry is growing.”
Dr Alex Grant, cofounder and CEO of Myriota, said Melroy is used to breaking new ground in space exploration.
“We’re thrilled to have her join our team at a time when the commercialisation of space is opening up new avenues for entrepreneurial businesses, and enabling us to lower the cost of communication and tracking of remotely located sensors worldwide,” he said.
It’s been a strong 12 months or so for Myriota, which works with low-earth orbit nanosatellites to enable low-powered, two-way communication, allowing for the low-cost sharing of data to and from remote locations.
The startup last March raised US$15 million ($19.35 million) in a Series A round led Blue Sky Venture Capital and the CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures, with participation from firms including Right Click Capital and Boeing through its HorizonX Ventures arm.
It then partnered with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in November to track the health of Australia’s tropical waters via its low earth orbiting (LEO) satellites.
The AIMS has deployed marine drifters equipped with Myriota’s sensors, which can track currents, sea surface water temperatures, and barometric pressure, with the data transmitted to the AIMS’ data centre via the LEO satellites.
Myriota also announced its first commercial product this month, partnering with Davey Water Products to enable IoT connectivity for Davey’s TankSense product range.
The new product will be the first mass market water-level sensor to be connected via Myriota’s low-cost earth-to-satellite transmission technology, allowing farmers to manage water usage and provide peace of mind around livestock water supply.
Grant said at the time, “Our technology removes the need for farmers to rely on cellular networks with patchy coverage, or spend large sums of money to connect to high-cost satellite. We’re excited that this partnership will lower the cost of water management in locations that up until now have had no cost effective way of retrieving data.”
Image: Dr David Haley, Pamela Melroy, Dr Alex Grant. Source: Supplied.