Fleet unveils first nanosatellite ground station and mission control centre in Adelaide

Fast-growing Australian Internet of Things (IoT) startup Fleet Space Technologies, has today unveiled Mission Control South Australia, the first major project to be unveiled following the establishment of the Australian Space Agency.

The ground station located at Red Banks Reservoir, Pinkerton Plains, complements mission control consoles next to Fleet’s South Australian headquarters in Beverley, in Adelaide’s west, and will track and transmit data from nanosatellites in space.

The project, partly funded by the South Australian Government and matched by Fleet, demonstrates the commitments of both Fleet and South Australia to a future driven by commercial space.

The ground station will operate for 24 hours a day and will allow Fleet to track and receive data from nanosatellites, including its own which are set to launch this year, while in orbit. Space startups across Australia and around the world will be able to monitor their own nanosatellites and payloads at a fraction of the cost of larger operators.

“We’re thrilled to be opening South Australia’s first ground station to service space startups and unleash endless possibilities to track nanosatellites in even the most remote areas of the world,” said Flavia Tata Nardini, CEO of Fleet. “The ground station will break barriers for space startups locally and abroad creating opportunities that were previously only available to large organisations. We’re democratising space and advancing global collaboration!”

“We knew it was ambitious to build and operate a world-class ground station in less than six months. It’s a huge achievement for a small startup to receive leasing rights, let alone build a fully functioning mission control centre within this short timeframe. We’re proud that we can start working on this; owning and operating a ground station in Australia is a key part of ensuring we can deliver world class service with our satellites for our customers.”

“The ground station launch cements our commitment to driving quicker access to data to help transform billion-dollar industries, from precision agriculture on isolated rural farms in Tasmania, maritime monitoring in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and food supply chain management in Asia.”

Countdown to launch

This is another key milestone in Fleet’s mission that follows the announcement of the launches of the first two nanosatellites — Centauri I and II — aboard Indian Space Agency and SpaceX rockets.

Fleet’s progress has been rapid, and this week the startup received the Overseas Launch Certificate (OLC) under the Australian Space Activities Act allowing its nanosatellites — Centauri I and II — to be deployed into orbit this year.

“While we’re all for enabling broader access to space, it has to be done in a regulated way. Getting these two certificates from the Australian government demonstrates how hard the team has worked to ensure we have all the correct approvals in place before launching,” Tata Nardini said.

International collaboration

The ground station and mission control centre has been built in collaboration with Italian satellite ground segment service provider, Leaf Space which engineered and supplied a turn key satellite dish integrated with monitoring and control systems critical to receive radio waves from nanosatellites orbiting Earth.

“The proliferation of nanosatellites in recent years has created enormous demand for new ground stations across the globe for tracking, uplink and downlink operations,” said Giovanni Pandolfi, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Leaf Space.

“South Australia is emerging a space hub with ambitious startups, incredible talent and innovative technologies, we’re pleased to extend our installation of ground stations to Australia and increase operational efficiency for local and international satellite operators.”

The ground station will increase the speed and agility of Fleet’s operations with instantaneous access to data, ultimately boosting efficiencies for customers.

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr. Megan Clark AC, said, “This ground station is an example of some of the great space-related activities underway in Australia and I congratulate Fleet Space Technologies for achieving such an important milestone.”

“The ground station has been made possible by the lease of land from SA Water and support from Speedcast,” said Tata Nardini.


About Fleet

Fleet Space Technologies is building the global digital nervous system to power the next industrial revolution. When launched, it will provide free, global connectivity to the more than 75 billion connected devices that will transform industries around the world.

Fleet Space Technologies was founded in South Australia in 2015 by aerospace engineers who wanted to solve the issue facing businesses globally over the next decade: how to connect billions of sensors and devices, simply and cheaply. The business will launch the first of more than 100 planned nanosatellites in 2018, creating a global, free connectivity network that will plug directly into the millions of digital sensors already beginning to transform industries like agriculture, logistics, and mining and gas.  

About Leaf Space

Leaf Space provides ground segment services dedicated to the microsatellites market. With four ground stations already operative in Europe, the network will be soon enlarged to grant the wide connectivity demand of this industry.

Leaf Space was born in Italy in 2014 with the aim of removing the limits of the microsatellite environment concerning TT&C and payload data downlink operations. A team of 15 people is now delivering a complete set of ground segment services, including time-shared access to ground, dedicated to the microsatellites market. With four ground stations already operative in Europe, the network will be soon enlarged to grant to meet industry demand, thanks to a proprietary standardized and cost-effective ground station system and several add-on services to cover the whole market needs. The aim is to provide a way to outsource the entire ground segment and to turn it into a predictable recurring cost for the operators.


**This article was provided through a newswire and does not express the views or opinions of 61-Bit.

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Fleet unveils first nanosatellite ground station and mission control centre in Adelaide
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