Gilmour Space Technologies has teamed up with US satellite communications firm SpaceLink, as the QLD company prepares for a major rocket launch next year.
Space launch services provider and spacecraft manufacturer Gilmour has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SpaceLink, an American company building an “information superhighway for the space economy” using communications technology between low-orbit satellites and the ground.
SpaceLink’s relay service offers secure, continuous, high-capacity communications between low-Earth orbit spacecraft and the ground, including for tasking, data download and other communications.
Gilmour is preparing to launch its Eris rocket, taking small satellites into orbit for other private companies, next year.
The MoU is a precursor to a likely solid contract between the two companies, with plans to also explore further contracts for launch services.
The deal will see the companies working together to implement SpaceLink’s communications technology with Gilmour’s satellite platform, and to put these satellites into SpaceLink’s network. The companies will ensure their technology is compatible, and will share technical and business information.
“We are very excited to be working closely with another leading space and defence company to enhance our small satellite and launch capabilities,” Gilmour Space CEO Adam Gilmour said.
“The SpaceLink relay service has the potential to bring real-time, high-capacity communications capability to our satellite customers.”
It comes after Gilmour last month signed a deal with fellow Australian space firm Fleet Space Technologies to launch six nanosatellites into orbit in 2023. The announcement marked another major boost in Australia’s sovereign capability in space, and will see the launch of an Australian-built rocket, carrying Australian-built satellites from an Australian launch site.
Mr Gilmour has criticised the federal government for being “behind the eight ball” on support for the space sector, with his company still yet to receive funding from the Australian Space Agency, or any major contracts from Defence.
“The industry is moving faster than even the government thinks. It just makes it harder to get the job done,” Mr Gilmour told InnovationAus last month.
“If I look at my competitors that are at the same level as I am around the world, they’ve all got contracts already. That means they can get a much higher valuation and raise a lot more money. We’re continually behind the eight ball in Australia.”
Mr Gilmour said this government support is the “last missing piece” of the Australian space sector puzzle.
Gilmour has also signed up its first local customer for the Eris rocket, with the company to deliver a 35kg payload into orbit next year, the largest of its kind by an Australian company, and the first time it has been launched from Australia.
The company also partnered with Space Machines company and Fireball.International earlier this year with plans to send orbital transport Optimus-1 into space in March next year, carrying a bushfire detection satellite.