Low earth orbit (LEO) satellite developer Gilmour Space Technologies continues to build its "coalition of technology partners" after striking a deal with electronic warfare sensor company DEWC Systems, just two weeks after entering a collaboration agreement with ASX-listed Electro Optic Systems (ASX: EOS).
Federal Government impetus in the sector and a string of new development projects have helped Gold Coast-based Gilmour to increase staff numbers from 45 to 70 since the end of 2020, and CEO Adam Gilmour expects the number to hit 120 by the close of 2021.
Today's Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is aimed at launching Adelaide-based DEWC Systems' Miniaturised Orbital Electronic Warfare Sensor Systems (MOESS) into space with Gilmour's light-weight, cost-effective satellites.
Founded in 2018, DEWC Systems is 100 per cent veteran-owned and operated, employing many ex-Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel as well as specialists from the Australian Defence Science and Technology (DST) and industry.
Defence Innovation Hub grants have pushed forward DEWC Systems' technology in collaboration with top South Australian universities, prompting discussions a year ago with Gilmour to get a prototype into low earth orbit.
"Defence is not just about kinetic effects of things getting whacked and blowing up. It's also about radio signals, communication signals getting jammed or anti-jammed," says Gilmour, whose company has also partnered with US military giant Northrop Grumann and is developing rockets with DST.
"That's an important part of the way defence forces work, and that's what this technology revolves around," he says.
"We are committed to developing a LEO launch and satellite platform that will support new and valuable sovereign space capabilities, such as DEWC Systems' ISREW [Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare] solution for Defence."
The companies also envisage co-development projects based on the current 3U platform including assets in the 80kg to 100kg class that will lead to a small satellite prototype.
A joint research activity will be conducted to understand the manufacturing requirements for a prototype satellite utilising commercially available components.
DEWC Systems was the first Australian company to launch a payload on a space-capable rocket from Australian soil, helping the country enter the Space 4.0 era, and through the Gilmour deal is now one step closer to launching a constellation of CubeSat nanosatellites.
"I believe in the ingenuity, innovation and the 'can do' attitude of the Australian spirit," says DEWC Systems' CEO Ian Spencer.
"Through effective collaboration with like-minded Australian companies, such as DEWC Systems and Gilmour Space Technologies, I am confident that we can deliver a true and enduring sovereign Defence space capability," he says.
Gilmour says he is positively surprised by the cutting edge technology being developed in Australia.
"The most important thing for me is that we are continually engaging in Australian companies that are demonstrating very good technology that can be used in space," he says.
"What we're doing is we're building a coalition of technology partners that will be able to combine with us and provide fantastic services from space. Not just in defence - we're working with a fire detection satellite company [Sunshine Coast startup Fireball.International], so it's for civilian and defence applications.
On 16 April Gilmour Space executed an MoU with EOS' SpaceLink, a company that is building an information superhighway for the space economy and whose relay network could potentially be launched with Gilmour-built satellites.
"The SpaceLink relay service has the potential to bring real time, high-capacity communications capability to our satellite customers," Adam Gilmour said at the time.
Gilmour adds the company is close to finalising another investment round which will be "quite significant", and he is optimistic about more Federal Government funding going towards the space industry.
"The Modern Manufacturing Initiative is going to put about $240 million into the space industry for manufacturing, and we've already put some submissions in for that."Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.
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