South Australian space start-up Fleet Space Technologies has opened its first nanosatellite mission control centre in South Australia.

The ground station, located at Red Banks Reservoir, Pinkerton Plains, will operate for 24 hours a day and will allow Fleet to track and receive data from nanosatellites in space, including its own which are set to launch this year.

It is the first major project to be unveiled following the establishment of the Australian Space Agency, and is partly funded by the South Australian Government.

Fleet Chief Executive Officer Flavia Tata Nardini said the ground station will provide space startups across Australia and the world with the ability to monitor their own nanosatellites and payloads at a fraction of the cost of larger operators.

“We’re thrilled to open South Australia’s first ground station to service space startups and unleash endless possibilities to track nanosatellites in even the most remote areas of the world,” she said.

“The ground station will break barriers for space startups locally and abroad, creating opportunities that were previously only available to large organisations. We’re democratising space and advancing global collaboration.”

The project is a significant feat for the small start-up, which built and launched the ground station in less than six months, with help from Italian satellite ground segment service provider, Leaf Space.

“It’s a huge achievement for a small startup to receive leasing rights, let alone build a fully functioning mission control centre within this short timeframe,” Flavia Tata Nardini said.

We’re proud that we can start working on this; owning and operating a ground station in Australia is a key part of ensuring we can deliver world class service with our satellites for our customers.”

“The ground station launch cements our commitment to driving quicker access to data to help transform billion-dollar industries, from precision agriculture on isolated rural farms in Tasmania, maritime monitoring in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and food supply chain management in Asia.”

This key milestone in Fleet’s mission follows the announcement of the launches of the first two nanosatellites — Centauri I and II — aboard Indian Space Agency and SpaceX rockets to be deployed into orbit this year.

Head of the Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark AC, congratulated Fleet for achieving such an “important milestone”.

“This ground station is an example of some of the great space-related activities underway in Australia,” she said.