Fleet Space Technologies explores new frontiers outside of mining and resources

Fleet Space Technologies is making inroads to demonstrating its low-cost satellite-based systems and space technologies can be applied outside of the mining sector by inking a deal with Australia’s Defence Space Command.

Fleet Space has signed a $6.4 million contract with Defence Space Command, an agency established in January 2022 to help Australia achieve its strategic space ambitions and lead the effort to assure access to space.

Better known for its ExoSphere technology, which provides the mining and mineral exploration industry fast, scalable 3D mapping solutions to pinpoint raw materials and increase accuracy in identifying drill targets, today’s agreement marks the first defence contract for the company.

As part of the agreement, Defence Space Command will use Fleet Space’s next generation of Centauri satellites to develop and demonstrate a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications system focused on tactical communications and data transmission where connectivity is limited.

“We’re investing heavily in advanced manufacturing, high-tech engineering talent, and have a laser focus on delivering innovative solutions at scale for our customers worldwide” 

Commenting on the agreement, Fleet Space Chief Exploration Officer and cofounder Matt Pearson says the company has a laser focus to expand its service offering.

“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, high-tech engineering talent, and have a laser focus on delivering innovative solutions at scale for our customers worldwide.” 

In 2018, Fleet Space created history by launching Australia’s first 4 commercial nanosatellites. Over the course of three weeks, Proxima 1 & 2 and Centauri 1 & 2 were launched into Low Earth Orbit. Fleet Space is continuing its work on the Centauri program, having launched subsequent satellites in 2021 and 2022.

In addition to expanding into the defence sector, Fleet Space continues to diversify its offerings with the company’s ExoSphere system, providing a cutting-edge solution for mining exploration. This comprises highly portable sensors called Geodes, which use Ambient Noise Tomography (ANT) to collect subsurface data.

This data is beamed to the ExoSphere constellation of LEO satellites, then relayed to computers that use machine learning to generate detailed 3D subsurface maps, which helps guide explorers to discover resources.

Under the defence deal announced today, a program named ASCEND2LEO will be launched that will utilise Fleet Space’s commercial satellites. 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.

Colonel Clifford White, Director Space Services at Defence Space Command says Australia is fortunate to have a talented space industry with an inventive spirit.

“Space is operationally critical to the achievement of the Defence mission, and this is an example of innovative way to advance our capability and support the development of a sustainable national space enterprise.”

Headquartered in Adelaide, South Australia, Fleet Space has rapidly grown to more than 100 employees and has a global presence, including a team in the US and offices in Canada, Luxembourg, and Chile.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: Fleet Space Technologies
Author Image
Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.