ACT government to provide $1m grant for satellite constellation development

Max Blenkin

The ACT government has signed an agreement to provide a $1 million grant to UNSW-based Skykraft to develop a satellite constellation as the national space race heats up.

ACT government to provide $1m grant for satellite constellation development
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Skykraft, a company that spun out of the University of NSW in Canberra, designs and manufactures small satellite (SmallSat) constellations for a broad range of space-based services.

Skykraft managing director James Prior said the ACT government's grant would enable the company to begin immediate conceptualisation and design work for a SmallSat constellation providing global air traffic management capabilities.

He said this early definition work was significant as it established a tangible project for supply chain development and the creation of new space capabilities in the ACT.

“Importantly, this has enabled Skykraft to sign a memorandum of understanding with Spanish multinational technology company Indra for the design, manufacture and operation of this SmallSat constellation,” Prior said.

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“I am excited about where this will lead. It places Skykraft in a unique position to establish a space-based global service in a niche market.”

The $1 million ACT government contribution, alongside another $1.2 million in cash and in kind from Skykraft, UNSW and Xtek, will position the company to tap into the development and manufacture of 200 SmallSats that will form this constellation.

The funding has been awarded as part of the ACT government’s Priority Investment Program and follows the signing of a strategic partnership between Skykraft and Equatorial Launch Australia.

This partnership brings together space industry skills and expertise from across Australia, enabling local companies to launch from Australia.

Skykraft draws on the extensive expertise and heritage of UNSW Canberra’s team of more than 50 engineers and academic staff, who are responsible for the design, construction and operations of the Buccaneer, M1, M2PF and M2 CubeSats.

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