Space company Skykraft and rocket launch company Equatorial Launch Australia have signed a strategic partnership agreement to leverage the strengths of the two firms.
Skykraft, a company that spun out of UNSW Canberra, is a designer and manufacturer of small satellite constellations for a broad range of space-based services.
ELA is set to operate of Australia’s first commercial spaceport, located near Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory.
ELA chief executive Carley Scott said this teaming arrangement brought together space industry skills and expertise from across Australia.
That would demonstrate the clear path to space available for leading Australian technology developers through launch from the Arnhem Space Centre.
"Launching from Australia means local companies do not need to go overseas. This saves precious time and financial resources in the race to get Australian cutting-edge technology in space,” she said.
"As a UNSW Canberra spin out company, Skykraft is well positioned to build on the $20 million investment into UNSW Canberra for the creation of Australia's largest spacecraft design and engineering capability. Skykraft engineers are now working at full speed toward the development of SmallSat constellations.
"Access to the Equatorial Launch Australia site will close a gap, providing confidence around efficient access to space."
Skykraft managing director James Prior said the letter of strategic intent with ELA was a key step in the development of Australia’s ability to conceptualise, design, build, launch and operate entire satellite constellation missions from within Australia.
“Equatorial Launch Australia’s Space Centre near Nhulunbuy in the NT is ideally positioned to access a wide variety of orbits. Skykraft requires this type of space access to achieve its aim of delivering rapid, flexible and adaptable space missions,” he said.
In a joint statement, the companies said combining Skykraft’s rapid constellation design and manufacture capability and ELA’s ability to tailor launch options through their spaceport, plus access to a wide selection of launch vehicles, would provide Australia and the broader space community with an end-to-end solution for rapid, flexible and responsive space access.
NASA plans to launch four sounding rockets from Nhulunbuy next year.
Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect here.