Australia's Sky and Space is using Virgin Galactic to launch nanosatellites

Richard Branson. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages

The ASX-listed Sky and Space Global plans to launch up to 200 nanosatellites using the LauncherOne orbital launch vehicle with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

Sky and Space Global, a UK company led by former Israeli fighter pilot Meir Moalem, is creating a cost-efficient voice and data network with a constellation of between 150 and 200 nanosatellites. These are about 80% cheaper than traditional satellites.

“Virgin Galactic is a truly global company with significant resources and support and this agreement is the first step in what we believe will be a long term relationship and it provides Sky and Space Global a genuine and highly sought after opportunity,” says Moalem.

“It is expected to not only deliver substantial cost savings, due to LauncherOne’s ability to carry multiple nano-satellites simultaneously, but will enable us to bolster our bandwidth capacity as we launch further nano-satellites into orbit.”

Sky and Space Global’s constellation will service equatorial countries in South and Central America, Africa and Asia, as well as airliners and shipping companies in the coverage area.

The company’s first three nanosatellites, the Three Diamonds, will be launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle next year.

The Three Diamonds are 10cm x 10cm x 30cm in size and weigh less than 10kg.

The Virgin Galactic launch is planned for 2018.

The Sky and Space Global business is based on selling capacity to telco providers.

“The area that will be covered by Sky and Space Global’s nanosatellite constellation is home to about 4 billion people or in other words, potential end-users,” says Moalem.

The Sky and Space last month raised $4.5 million via a backdoor listing on the ASX through the shell of Burleson Resources.

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