Skykraft’s Block II satellites successfully reached low Earth orbit after their 3 January launch by SpaceX from Cape Canaveral. The satellites were launched as a single payload, with four mission satellites carried by an orbital transfer vehicle. Following successful initial testing of the single payload by Skykraft, the four mission satellites were separated from the orbital transfer vehicle to become five single satellites.
Over the past seven days, Skykraft has performed critical operations including testing communication through its UHF command channel to communicate regularly with all satellites, ensuring a functioning power system with batteries being recharged by the solar panels, and operations of the mission computer.
“All onboard systems tested on the five satellites are performing in line with expectations, including the mission computer which is operating flawlessly,” said Dr Michael Frater, CEO of Skykraft. “Skykraft is now actively operating the five satellites, which form the largest ever constellation of Australian built spacecraft, and will be carrying out proof of concept activities for our Air Traffic Management services.”
Skykraft’s global Air Traffic Management (ATM) service is set to be commercialised over the next 2 years, and will address gaps in surveillance and communications for aircraft travelling over remote and oceanic areas.
“This first launch is just the start. Over the next two years, Skykraft is building and launching a satellite constellation that will accurately track and monitor aircraft movements globally, allowing aircraft to follow more efficient flight routes,” Frater added.
This proof of concept activities will see Skykraft testing the capability of our Air Traffic Management services and analysing data over the next three months, with further launches scheduled for mid-2023 and early-2024. Skykraft’s design, manufacture and operation of satellites have now been proven in space.