Adelaide space startup Myriota has signed a $5.48 million contract with the federal government to expand its satellite communications network for use by Defence.
Under the contract awarded via the Defence Innovation Hub’s Next Generation Technologies Fund, Myriota will use its network of nano-satellites to retrieve data from sensors across hundreds of Defence platforms, forming a global, space-enabled communications network.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the contract would contribute to growing a robust, resilient and innovative industrial base for space technologies in Australia.
“Sovereign, space-enabled capabilities are critical to the future of Defence,” Ms Price said. “This innovation could enable the secure transfer of Defence data from almost anywhere on Earth.
The Defence Industry Minister added that the investment would help build Australia’s sovereign space industry and skilled workforce.
“This technology has the potential to be used beyond Defence, with potential impact across almost all sectors of the Australian economy,” Ms Price said. “From mining to remote education, Myriota’s secure satellite communications technologies will provide global connectivity.”
Myriota is based at Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen and has raised more than $50 million in two seed rounds, with former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull a notable backer. It boasts to have developed low-cost, low-power, direct-to-orbit satellite connectivity for Internet of Things devices and is popular with the agriculture and resource sectors.
The Defence contract follows Myriota’s successful engagement with the $730 million Next Generation Technologies Fund, and the Adelaide company’s recently announced partnership with US company Spire Global, which has more than 110 satellites currently in orbit. Insurance Australia Group also announced recently that it was making an undisclosed investment in Myriota and would use its satellites to monitor customers’ business and agricultural assets.
The Next Generation Technologies Fund is currently one of many programs under scrutiny as part of a wide-ranging review of Defence’s innovation, science and technology led by former Rio Tinto Australia managing director David Peever, although the funds will continue to operate “as usual for the duration of the review”, which is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Myriota was contacted for comment but did not respond at the time of publication.
Industry and research organisations can submit innovation proposals through the Defence Innovation Portal at: innovationhub.defence.gov.au
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