Canberra company closer to launching space-based air traffic management tech

Local satellite manufacturer Skykraft is one step closer to deploying its SmallSat constellation that’s aiming to provide world-leading Air Traffic Management tech from the ACT.

Minister for Advanced Technology and Space Industries Mick Gentleman said the progress highlighted how the ACT Government is helping to create jobs in the local space sector.

“The ACT Government invested $1 million in the UNSW Canberra spin-off last September to help develop its Air Traffic Management constellation,” Minister Gentleman said.

“Skykraft has already reached an important milestone, completing its spacecraft chassis prototype. Excitingly, they have passed launch tests that simulate vibrations the chassis will experience when being launched into orbit.

“Air traffic technology is mainly ground-based and hasn’t changed much over the past 50 years. We’re supporting Skykraft to develop a better space-based solution for Air Traffic Management right here in Canberra.

“Skykraft is aiming to launch a constellation of 210 small satellites to provide continuous coverage for aircraft at all altitudes and locations around the world, improving the safety and efficiency of aircraft operations.

“Our Priority Investment Program investments are just one example of how the ACT Government is investing in advanced manufacturing to create more jobs and encourage greater private sector investment in the ACT.

“I was delighted to visit Skykraft headquarters to see the chassis prototype and hear about the progress they are making towards launch of their full SmallSat constellation.

“This is one of many projects putting Canberra at the forefront of Australia’s space industry.”

The Priority Investment Program was established to work with industry, research and the tertiary sectors to attract investment and grow established and emerging priority areas of Canberra’s economy.

Skykraft is a leader in conceptualising, designing, building, testing and operating bespoke SmallSat constellations for a wide variety of applications.

As noted by James Prior, Executive Director of Skykraft:

“Space constellations consist of a large number of spacecraft that work together to provide global services on Earth. These constellations enhance our communication, travel, banking, environment, location services and security here on Earth.

“This investment from the ACT Government has enabled Skykraft to employ 11 people and advance our constellation development much more rapidly.

“We have also received a grant from the Australian Space Agency to develop a launch deployer mechanism that will allow Skykraft to launch up to 30 satellites at once into low earth orbit.

“Together these projects give us the ability to deliver large numbers of satellites into orbit in a safe and economical way, which is really exciting.”

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