Fleet Space Technologies signs Defence Space Command contract

Fleet Space Technologies Pty Ltd

Wednesday, 28 June, 2023

Fleet Space Technologies signs Defence Space Command contract

Adelaide-based space tech company Fleet Space Technologies has signed a $6.4 million contract with Australia’s Defence Space Command, marking the company’s first defence contract. The agreement will see Fleet’s next generation of Centauri satellites used to develop and demonstrate a low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications system focused on tactical communications and data transmission where connectivity is limited.

The program, named ASCEND2LEO, will make use of Fleet’s commercial satellites. In a collaboration between government, defence industry and academia, Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), Fleet Space Technologies, the University of South Australia, Rice Satcom and SmartSat CRC are taking advanced research and technologies to demonstrate LEO capabilities to the war fighter. This innovative approach enables Defence to take advantage of the most modern commercial space technology used by the mining industry with the most up-to-date research to rapidly advance space capabilities.

“Space is operationally critical to the achievement of the Defence mission, and this is an example of innovative ways to advance our capability and support the development of a sustainable national space enterprise,” said Colonel Clifford White, Director Space Services at Defence Space Command. “We look forward to working with Fleet Space as they bring new approaches to enhance satellite communication capabilities to meet Defence’s needs.”

Professor Andy Koronios, CEO of SmartSat, added, “ASCEND2LEO is an ambitious project and a prime example of how SmartSat can help our partners successfully develop and demonstrate innovative Australian technology to customers such as Defence.

“SmartSat was able to work with Fleet to … repurpose technology being used for world-leading mineral exploration, and technology SmartSat developed to build more resilient search and rescue infrastructure, into a demonstration of tactical voice communications.”

As an emerging Australian company in the global ‘new space’ industry, Fleet Space said it has a unique opportunity to develop and embrace cutting-edge technologies and methodologies for domestic satellite technology production. The company’s key capabilities are low-power, high-performance edge computing in small spacecraft and terrestrial devices, as well as additive manufacturing. By leveraging Australian competitive strengths, Fleet Space said it will complement, augment and reinforce sovereign space capability for the nation and its allies.

“We’re excited to collaborate with Defence Space Command and our partners to deliver new capabilities from low Earth orbit,” said Matt Pearson, Chief Exploration Officer and co-founder of Fleet Space Technologies. “This is only the beginning and we envision Australian satellites supporting national security across land, air, sea and space by connecting our people, our assets and by enabling radical ideas in autonomy and emerging technologies. We’re investing heavily in advanced manufacturing [and] high-tech engineering talent, and have a laser focus on delivering innovative solutions at scale for our customers worldwide.”

Image caption: Australian defence in space, connecting defence assets and personnel from low Earth orbit. Image credit: Fleet Space Technologies.

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