Fleet Space Technologies satellite launch a ‘boost for net-zero goals through mining’

Fleet Space Technologies satellite launch a ‘boost for net-zero goals through mining’

Adelaide-based space exploration company Fleet Space Technologies has successfully deployed its next-generation Centauri-6 satellite on SpaceX’s Bandwagon-1 mission, describing its latest milestone as a major boost for net-zero goals through improved efficiencies for minerals exploration globally.

Centauri-6 will play a key role in servicing the global demand for Fleet Space Technologies’ end-to-end mineral exploration solution ExoSphere, while also building capacity to deliver advanced SATCOM (radio telephone communications via satellite) capabilities with microsatellite architectures.

“Centauri-6 is a portal into a future of efficient, mass-scale satellite manufacturing that can unlock previously unimaginable satellite-enabled solutions to hard problems on Earth,” says Fleet Space co-founder and CEO Flavia Tata Nardini.

“Leveraging the latest advances in space technology, AI, and geophysics, Fleet Space is demonstrating a path to accelerate mineral exploration in a more data-driven, scalable, and sustainable way.”

ExoSphere combines the latest advances in satellite connectivity, edge computing, AI and geophysics to deliver 3D subsurface models of a minerals survey area within days and with near-zero environmental impact.

This compares with traditional seismic data acquisition and processing which can take months or years before it can be used as part of an exploration campaign.

Tata Nardini says strong take-up of ExoSphere by mining majors has been the catalyst behind Fleet Space’s sustained innovation in space technologies and growth over the past year.

A $50 million Series C capital raising last year doubled the company’s valuation to $350 million.

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), Core Lithium (ASX: CXO), and Barrick Gold are among more than 40 mineral exploration companies that have used the technology to complete more than 300 surveys looking for critical minerals across five continents.

“Humanity’s expanding satellite infrastructure is rapidly unlocking new capabilities that can help to address some of the most pressing challenges facing our planet,” says Tata Nardini, an Italy-educated aerospace engineer.

“At current rates of mineral discoveries and production, our net-zero goals and clean energy future are unattainable in the coming decades.”

The Centauri-6 satellite was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 and comes on the heels of Fleet Space last month successfully demonstrating in collaboration with the Australian Defence Force that its Centauri-4 as the world’s smallest voice-enabled satellite.

The satellite’s Push-To-Talk (PTT) capabilities demonstrated high performance one-way voice transmission in terms of voice quality, reliability and link persistence across thousands of kilometres in manifold operational environments. 

Late last year, Space Fleet also announced it was heading for the dark side of the Moon on a mission that lays the foundations for sustaining human life on the lunar surface.

In partnership with US-based space transportation company Firefly Aerospace, Fleet Space plans to deploy its SPIDER seismic technology on the Moon’s surface aboard Firefly’s Blue Ghost lunar lander as part of Firefly’s second lunar mission in 2026.

Fleet Space says its latest satellite, Centauri-6, which incorporates 3D-printed components, has been designed with upgrades that optimise resilience and durability, while also enhancing the overall capacity of the company’s low-Earth orbit satellite constellation to support demand for the ExoSphere technology.

The satellite also features ion electric propulsion system powered by solar panels to provide thrust in space.

“Innovation in microsatellite architectures is advancing at an unprecedented rate, unlocking new capabilities across sectors at scale,” says Matt Pearson, co-founder and chief exploration officer of Space Fleet.

“The re-programmability of our Centauri satellites enables in-orbit software updates that can deliver all-new capabilities, as we recently demonstrated with Centauri-4, making it the world’s smallest known voice-enabled satellite.

“This marks a significant leap forward in the history of spacecraft, making a future with more energy-efficient, high-performing, flexible, and resilient microsatellite infrastructure within reach for the global space sector.”

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