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ANT61 blasts off device that revives dead satellites

Sydney start-up ANT61 has launched its pioneering Beacon device for the first time that promises to revive dead satellites.

The unit blasted off from the Esrange Space Center in Sweden aboard the MAPHEUS 14 sounding rocket on Tuesday, in an event live-streamed to the National Space Industry Hub.

Its mission was to test Beacon’s durability against extreme space conditions, which included flying at double the typical satellite launch acceleration.

The firm’s space missions manager, Mary Pillay, said, “It aims to demonstrate functionality under severe stress, collecting data on its journey. Additionally, there’s an attempt to transmit some of this data back to us.”


ANT61 hopes future clients will install Beacon onto their own satellites prior to launch.

The unit can then perform satellite health checks in orbit, determining its position and communicating with the team on the ground in real time.

It means if a satellite fails, Beacon will keep working, providing information on the root cause of the problem and allowing the team on the ground to improve their design.

It also significantly provides a backup communication system, allowing the operator to update software and recover from failure – effectively coming back from the dead.


“(This launch) marks a few firsts for us as a company,” added Pillay. “It is the first product that we are launching into space to demonstrate sustainable operations, and it’s the first launch of our Beacon.

“The Beacon is our flagship product. It’s a leap forward for space sustainability, being able to log, track and revive satellites in orbit.”

ANT61 director Mikhail Asavkin attended the launch in Sweden and answered an on-site Q&A, which was streamed back to Sydney, Australia, after the launch.

Space Services company Swedish Space Corporation designed the sounding rocket.

The company’s campaign manager, Elin Lundqvist, said, “I am very happy with the campaign and the launch of MAPHEUS 14.

“The scientists have put a lot of effort into being ready for launch as we had perfect settings and launch conditions that we did not want to miss out on

“Our SSC team and DLR [German Aerospace Centre] have together supported this seamlessly. It is always a pleasure to work together with DLR, and this time, on a completely new rocket motor combination.”

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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