A group of South Australian space companies have celebrated their contributions to the successful launch of the Space Industry Responsive Intelligent Thermal (SpIRIT) nanosatellite.

The SpIRIT nanosatellite was developed by a consortium led by the University of Melbourne and Italian Space Agency, partnered with a number of organisations including Adelaide-based Neumann Space, Inovor Technologies and Nova Systems Australia and New Zealand.

The landmark satellite lifted off from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on 2 December at 5.19am (AEDT) and has since entered a sun-synchronous orbit more than 500km above Earth.

Included in the design process was Inovor Technologies’ locally-made Apogee satellite bus and Neumann Space’s electronic propulsion system, the Neumann Drive.

CEO of Inovor Technologies, Dr Matthew Tetlow, explained this launch marks a significant milestone for the company.

“Our satellite Apogee platform stands as a testament to world-class technology and unwavering reliability solidifying our commitment to pushing the boundaries of space innovation,” said Dr Tetlow.

“We are confident that our technology will continue to redefine industry standards.”

CEO of Neumann Space, Herve Astier, explained this is the second flight for the Neumann Drive.

“This mission marks the second flight-heritage for the Neumann Drive and the first integrated into Inovor’s Apogee platform,” said Mr Astier.

“This demonstrates the value of collaboration between local and international partners, with benefits for our education, research and industry communities.”

Nova Systems Australia is providing ground support which will facilitate operation requests, manage user priority levels, and make decisions about the tasking of multi-band and multi-network satellite communications via their Autonomous Intelligent Ground Station System near Peterborough, South Australia.

Space Portfolio Manager at Nova Systems, Phil Krix, said the company is thrilled to be part of the landmark project.

“We are proud to be facilitating the command and monitoring of SpIRIT satellite through our Autonomous Intelligent Ground Station located at Nova System Space Precinct,” Mr Krix said.

SpIRIT is designed to fly in low Earth orbit for two years, with testing and commissioning of the nanosatellite in extreme conditions expected to take approximately four months before scientific operations can begin.

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