Fleet Space sent its latest satellite into orbit with SpaceX

- April 18, 2024 2 MIN READ
SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
The latest Centauri-6 satellite developed by Adelaide mining tech startup Fleet Space Technologies is now in orbit after heading skywards aboard SpaceX’s  Bandwagon-1 “ridesharing” mission.

The Falcon 9 reusable rocket’s payload of 11 satellites took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida last week. 

The Centauri-6 microsatellite brings Fleet Space’s constellation of low earth orbit satellites to seven.

They’re used for minerals exploration as well as building capacity to deliver advanced satellite communications capabilities.

Fleet cofounder and CEO Flavia Tata Nardini said Centauri-6 has  has an ion electric propulsion system powered by solar panels to provide thrust in the vacuum of space and also features 3D-printed components.

“Centauri-6 is a portal into a future of efficient, mass-scale satellite manufacturing that can unlock previously unimaginable satellite-enabled solutions to hard problems on Earth,” she said.

“Humanity’s expanding satellite infrastructure is rapidly unlocking new capabilities that can help to address some of the most pressing challenges facing our planet. Fleet Space is demonstrating a path to accelerate mineral exploration in a more data-driven, scalable, and sustainable way.”

Fleet Space Centauri-6

An artist’s impression of the Fleet Space Centauri-6 microsatellite in orbit

Fleet’s Centauri-4 became the world’s smallest voice-enabled satellite in orbit after demonstrating its Push-To-Talk (PTT) capabilities to the Australian Defence Force Joint Capabilities Division. And the South Australian startup’s SPIDER seismic technology is heading to the Moon to search for water ice and deliver new insights about the lunar regolith (the loose surface rock and dust) in 2026 as part of a NASA initiative.

The Fleet Space mineral exploration platform, ExoSphere, has been used by more than 40 exploration companies, including Rio Tinto, Core Lithium, and Barrick Gold, for more than 300 surveys for critical minerals across five continents.

The startup developed patented satellite-enabled seismic sensors, called Geode, which are placed across a survey area, with its satellite gathering the data to create near real-time access to survey results to a depth of 2.5km – a process that traditionally took months.

Last year, Fleet Space raised $50 million Series C that valued the South Australian satellite startup at more than $350 million. The company also landed a $6.4 million communications contract with the Australian Defence Forces.

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