Aussie space pioneers Fleet and Gilmour partner for satellite launch

Aussie space pioneers Fleet and Gilmour partner for satellite launch

Gilmour Space Head of Sales Peter Kinne and CEO Adam Gilmour, with Fleet Space CEO Flavia Tata Nardini at Fleet Space HQ in Adelaide. (Provided)

Two Australian companies are scaling up to meet the world's growing demand for space-based Internet of Things (IoT) technology and are joining forces to launch small satellites into orbit.

The partnership between Gold Coast-based rocket manufacturer Gilmour Space Technologies and Adelaide-based Fleet Space Technologies, a builder of nanosatellites for IoT, will see the two launch six satellites in 2023.

The announcement comes after Fleet launched its fifth commercial nanosatellite just last week, with its IoT technology transforming critical industries like energy, utilities and mining.

The six satellites built by Fleet will launch on one of Gilmour's Eris rockets.

"This is a great example of how Australian space companies are scaling and partnering to compete in the global space market," Gilmour Space CEO and co-founder Adam Gilmour said.

For Fleet Space CEO and co-founder Flavia Tata Nardini the partnership is the next step in towards its goal of launching 140 satellites in space.

"This launch is going to involve an Australian-built payload in an Australian-built satellite, on an Australian-built rocket," Tata Nardini said.

"We are building a strong portfolio of launch service partners, and we are very excited to have Gilmour Space as one of them."  

The partnership announcement comes as the Federal Government releases its Modern Manufacturing Strategy and Space National Manufacturing Priority Roadmap, which details plans to develop sovereign capabilities in space manufacturing, including satellites and launch vehicles.

"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," Tata Nardini said.

"COVID has shown how important it is to have access and control over the technology that we rely on. Sovereign satellite and launch capability will allow us to protect our assets in space and our way of life," Gilmour added.

The partnership comes on the heels of a major deal for Gilmour. In December 2020, the Gold Coast-based company struck its first international commercial contract with US-based Momentus Inc.

The multimillion-dollar partnership initially gives Momentus, an in-space infrastructure service provider, access to Gilmour's Eris launch services, which offer low inclination and equatorial orbit capabilities.

It equally gives Gilmour access to a bigger piece of the space economy through the Momentus Vigoride transportation service, expanding the flight domain of the Eris rockets to take them beyond low-earth orbits and potentially to the moon.

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