Connected through space

As the Australian space industry reaches new heights, data collected in orbit will connect farmers, land managers, and emergency services with changes on Earth in real time and minute detail. But these breakthrough technologies don’t simply jump from academia to industry; they must be transformed into products and even spun out into companies to achieve national impact.

So, what is impeding the connection between the scientists doing cutting-edge research and the people who can benefit from it? And who are the space entrepreneurs crossing the chasm to a connected Australia and the growth of the Australian space industry?

On Thursday 12 August, Professor Alan Duffy of The Royal Institution of Australia got these answers and more in an engaging Cosmos Briefing interview with Dr Ilana Feain of the CSIRO and Flavia Tata Nardini of Fleet Space Technologies.

Feain is an interdisciplinary academic entrepreneur spanning pure and applied signal processing, big science project management, deep technology commercialisation and related technology development. Feain is currently the Commercialisation Specialist inside CSIRO’s Astronomy and Space Science Business Unit and led the spinout of Quasar Satellite Technologies from their technologies group. Prior to that, she was the founder and CEO of Leo Cancer Care, and has held numerous other research, academic and science project management positions in medical physics and radio astronomy.

As co-founder and CEO of one of Australia’s most exciting space startups, Fleet Space Technologies, Tata Nardini and her team are preparing to launch 140 nanosatellites into space by 2027, which Fleet will use to ‘connect billions of sensors to track and change industries and ecologies across the globe’. A real-life rocket scientist, former propulsion test engineer at the European Space Agency, Project Manager at TNO and holder of two patents, Tata Nardini has worked across a broad range of innovative space projects, from micropropulsion systems for CubeSats to space debris removal systems, experience that directly informs Fleet’s rapid progress towards their goal, having recently launched their sixth nanosatellite, and second this year. She has recently added Mission Chair of the Seven Sisters Moon Mission – Australia’s mission of discovery for Earth, the Moon and Mars – to her long list of achievements.

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