Gilmour Space and Fleet Announce Mission to Launch Six CubeSats
Queensland-based rocket manufacturer, Gilmour Space Technologies has signed an agreement with South Australian based Fleet Space Technologies, who build and operate Internet of Things (IoT) nanosatellites to deliver six CubeSats into Orbit.
Projects and collaboration between stakeholders across the Australian space industry continues to ramp up, with news that Gilmour Space Technologies and Fleet Space Technologies are partnering in a mission to launch six CubeSats into orbit by 2023.
The six Centauri nanosatellites, which provide connectivity and data exchange between an array of ground sensors and space-based monitoring services, are expected to be launched on Gilmour’s Eris orbital launch vehicle, which can lift payload masses of up to 305 kg into orbit using three stages.
“We have signed a contract to launch six Fleet Space Centauri nanosatellites on our Eris rockets in 2023,” said Gilmour Space CEO, Adam Gilmour. “This is a great example of how Australian space companies are scaling and partnering to compete in the global space market.”
The Gold Coast-based rocket company is hoping to launch their first commercial payloads in 2022, already having signed contracts with additional customers from across the space community, including Momentus, Fireball International and Space Machines.
Fleet Space Technologies are building an IoT constellation, with a final size of 140 nanosatellites. They recently launched it’s 5th IoT nanosatellite on board Rocketlab’s “they go up so fast” electron launch vehicle.
“This launch is going to involve an Australian-built payload in an Australian-built satellite, on an Australian-built rocket,” said Flavia Tata Nardini, CEO of Fleet Space, which is building a global digital nervous system to power the next industrial revolution.
Fleet Space Technologies are intending to deliver a global communications network in Low Earth Orbit, providing cost effective connectivity ideal for machine to machine data exchange. Their focus is on delivering IoT technology across the agriculture, logistics and mining industries.
With sensors attached to equipment in the field, usually in remote regions, it will be possible to manage and monitor this equipment remotely. It could even be used to track and monitor cattle movements. This kind of connectivity has the potential to revolutionise monitoring and tracking.
“The Portal” is Fleet’s gateway to connectivity, enabling customers to deploy up to 100 senors and monitor them within a 15 km radius. The Portal allows connectivity in remote areas where mobile networks are not present. According to Nardini, seamless global coverage is expected by 2027 when the constellation is completed.
Building Australia’s Space Infrastructure
"Today's announcement is the beginning of an ongoing launch service relationship as we work towards our planned constellation of 140 satellites," she added. "We are building a strong portfolio of launch service partners, and we are very excited to have Gilmour Space as one of them."
According to Gilmour, the current COVID pandemic has highlighted how important sovereign satellite experience and launch capability are. Going on to say that this capability will ensure we can “protect our assets in space and our way of life."
“As a country, we are highly reliant on space technologies from other nations and it’s time to realise that we can have critical sovereign capabilities in satellite development and launch here in Australia,” said Nardini.
Both Fleet and Gilmour have benefitted from seed investment and subsequent investment from Sydney based venture capital firm, Blackbird Ventures, which also notes firms such as Canva as part of its portfolio.
According to Blackbird partner, Rick Baker “Gilmour and Fleet are leading the way forward through great technology and big ambitions. We've been impressed with both companies' traction and see this partnership as a milestone for the maturing space industry in Australia. It's fantastic to see leaders like Adam and Flavia joining forces to scale further and raise our collective ambition."