Australian space startup Fleet Space Technologies has a new mission control centre and it looks exactly how an Australian space mission control centre should look:
The ground station at Red Banks Reservoir, Pinkerton Plains in South Australia will operate for 24 hours a day and allow Fleet to track and receive data from nanosatellites, including its own which are set to launch this year.
It is adorable.
It’s also just about the best visual example we’ve seen of just how accessible the space industry is becoming if you’ve got the kind of tenacity and drive Fleet CEO Flavia Tata Nardini brings to a startup.
Nardini founded Fleet in Adelaide in 2015 with fellow engineer Dr Matthew Tetlow, entrepreneur Matt Pearson, and about $5 million from a couple of VCs.
This week, it received an Overseas Launch Certificate (OLC) under the Australian Space Activities Act allowing its nanosatellites to be launched into orbit this year.
Two of them — Centauri I and II — will piggyback on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and on a SpaceX Falcon 9.
And they’ll be tracked from this world’s coolest shipping container, whose ribbon was cut this afternoon.
“We knew it was ambitious to build and operate a world-class ground station in less than six months,” Nardini said.
“It’s a huge achievement for a small startup to receive leasing rights, let alone build a fully functioning mission control centre within this short timeframe.
“We’re proud that we can start working on this; owning and operating a ground station in Australia is a key part of ensuring we can deliver world class service with our satellites for our customers.”
Fleet hopes it will eventually track 100 small satellites delivering crucial, transformational data to a range of industries across Australia and Asia, from agriculture to maritime services, mining and food supply chains.
The launch of the new mission control centre is also the first major space project launched since the establishment of the Australian Space Agency on July 1.
It was built with the help of Italian satellite service provider, Leaf Space, which engineered and supplied a dish integrated with the kind of monitoring and control systems that are critical for receiving radio waves from nanosatellites orbiting Earth.
Nardini says the ground station will increase the speed and agility of Fleet’s operations.
“The ground station will break barriers for space startups locally and abroad creating opportunities that were previously only available to large organisations,” she said.
“We’re democratising space and advancing global collaboration.”
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