Australia’s Skykraft eyes SmallSat constellation with ATM capability

An Australian university tech spin off is planning to develop a satellite constellation providing global air traffic management capabilities with the help of a A$1 million grant.

Skykraft, which 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 regional government’s grant would enable the company to begin immediate conceptualisation and design work for a SmallSat constellation.

“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. “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.

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.