Fleet's Ground Station Officially Opened in South Australia

Fleet Ground Station.JPG

Fleet 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 providing space startups across Australia and the world with the ability 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.”

Fleet Founders opening the Red Banks Ground Station

Fleet Founders opening the Red Banks Ground Station

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.

Fleet Ground Station Moon.JPG

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.

Fleet Ground Station in the Evening.JPG
Matthew Pearson