Nanosatellites manufactured by Adelaide companies Fleet Space Technologies and Myriota and by UNSW Canberra have been successfully launched from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula.
The three satellites, along with four others, were put into orbit by Rocket Lab’s Electron booster in its “They Go Up So Fast” mission on 23 March. This was the Rocket Lab’s 19th launch and the seven payloads it has carried so far amount to 104 nanosatellites.
Fleet Space’s Centauri-3 is the company’s fifth satellite to go into orbit. It is a 10kg device with an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) communications payload designed to extend the company’s existing Nebula global IIoT service for customers in the utilities, mining and energy sectors.
Myriota used this launch of the first of three similar nanosatellites to launch its own IoT service in the USA and Canada; it already offers a service in Australia. The UNSW Canberra Space M2 satellite is a collaboration with the RAAF that will explore advanced capabilities n earth observation, maritime surveillance and satellite communications. It will also split into two separate space craft, M2-A and M2-B, to explore formation flight.
Fleet Space plans two more launches this year and a further 16 in 2022 and 23, according to CEO Flavia Tata Nardini.
“We’re very excited because Centauri 3 will demonstrate our Internet of Things capabilities by linking multiple remote sensors monitoring critical infrastructure such as remote mine sites, gas pipelines and rurally dispersed electricity pylons with central base stations, 24 hours a day,” she said.
Centauri 3 and its stablemates make possible Fleet Space’s Nebula service to energy companies, utilities and mines worldwide. An IoT communications payload aboard each satellite, designed by Fleet Space, will connect thousands ofsensors monitoring critical infrastructure across the world with their owners’ and managers’ base stations in real time. The full constellation of 140 satellites could generate a lifetime revenue of $1.82 billion, says Ms Tata Nardini.
The payload includes a highly innovative, lightweight beam-steering antenna, Artificial Intelligence-driven computer server and satellite modem, all designed in-house by Fleet Space. This will transform the ability of Australian industry to manage and control in real time remote assets.
The “They Go Up So Fast” mission also includes an earth observation satellite for BlackSky, a weather-satellite demonstrator for Care Weather Technologies, a technical demonstrator cubesat for the US Army’s Space and Missile Defence Command and a Photon satellite belonging to Rocket Lab itself.