ADELAIDE STARTUP JOINS THE SPACE RACE BY PARTNERING WITH FRENCH AGENCY
26 September 2017, Written by David Simmons
SPACE startup Fleet has announced a partnership with French space agency CNES as the Federal Government announced the creation of an Australian space agency to cash in on the $420 billion aeronautical industry.
CNES will track and support Fleet's first nanosatellites once launched, with the satellites creating a global network that will be free to use by sensors and devices worldwide.
Fleet's news follows the announcement from the Federal Government of the creation of an Australian space agency which is expected to create thousands of new jobs.
Currently the Australian space sector generates annual revenues of $3 billion to $4 billion and employs between 9,500 to 11,500 people, according to Shadow Minister for Science Kim Carr.
Co-founder and CEO of the Adelaide-based Fleet, Flavia Tata Nardini, says the support from CNES is strategically important in getting the nanosatellite program off the ground.
"Partnering with a leading international space agency puts us in a strong position for the future," says Tata Nardini, a former European Space Agency propulsion engineer.
"The support from CNES comes at a critical phase in our space mission. The relationship will play a key role in ensuring that the digital nervous system we're creating for Earth succeeds."
President of CNES Dr Jean-Yves Le Gall says the decision to partner with Fleet was clear, considering Fleet's status as a leader in the Australian space startup scene.
"At CNES we are actively looking for partnerships with game changing NewSpace players," says Le Gall.
"Fleet is a leader in the Australian NewSpace scene, building on the small satellite revolution to provide the world with innovative connectivity solutions."
CNES will use its network of ground communications antennas to track Fleet's two nanosatellites that will be launched in 2018.
With this support, Fleet will be able to activate, monitor and control their technology as soon as possible after deployment from the launch vehicle.
Le Gall says CNES' involvement in Australia is completely changing considering the importance of Australia in the space industry.
"CNES has been present in Australia for a long time, but the recent working discussions reflect a whole new dynamic," says Le Gall.
"Space has gained new political importance in proving essential to manage global threats."
Fleet set to benefit from Australia's investment in space
"The global move towards smaller innovative missions, areas where Australia can bring its strengths and capabilities to bear, has rapidly led to a convergence of interest and synergies between us."
A Memorandum of Understanding between Fleet and CNES was signed today on the opening day of this year's International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide.
South Australia is positioned to be a large beneficiary of the Federal Government's investment in space, with SA Senator and Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham suggesting that Adelaide will be a "major part" of the program.
"Given our unique geography, we can be confident that South Australia will be central and a key beneficiary of any growth related to space agency-type activity," says Birmingham.
Tata Nardini believes there's never been a more exciting time to be in the Australian space industry.
"Our businesses are thriving, and are entering the world stage," says Tata Nardini.
"We have quickly growing startups like Fleet, Gilmour, and Saber all playing in the same league as NASA and other major space organisations. It's a testament to the burgeoning Australian space industry that the IAC is here this year."
Business News Australia
Author: David Simmons