Australian in-space transportation provider, Space Machines Company (SMC) has announced two deals, linking with an Italian satellite services provider and committing to deploy Fleet Space nanosatellites in orbit next year.

Space Machines linked up with Italian satellite services provider Leaf Space to support its Optimus-1 satellite launch timed for next year.

Optimus-1, the largest commercial satellite under construction in Australia, is an orbital transfer vehicle providing cost-effective insertion of small satellites into low Earth orbit.

Today Space Machines confirmed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to test the deployment of nanosatellites from Fleet Space Technologies, the Adelaide nanosatellite manufacturer for the Internet of Things (IoT). 

The first mission will analyse the suitability of Optimus to deliver Fleet’s satellites into orbit. 

The MoU allows Fleet to trial SMC as an in-space logistics provider. 

The Adelaide-based company has launched six satellites since 2018 and has plans to launch batches of new satellites in 2022

Fleet Space CEO Flavia Tata Nardini said: “Partnering with SMC will give us the option to speed up the build time of our space infrastructure, meaning our low-cost satellite-based communication system for Industrial IoT will be available to our customers sooner.”

For SMC CEO Rajat Kulshrestha the MoU is a ‘testament to the rapid growth of Australia’s space industry and an opportunity to work with one of the most innovative companies in the country.’

Meanwhile Leaf Space, which specialises in the ground segment of space support as a service (GSaaS), will support the launch, operation and eventual decommissioning of Optimus-1.

Space Machines will utilise Leaf Space’s Leaf Line solution based on the company’s global ground station network.

Kulshrestha said the partnership was a critical step in planning the mission.

“We are proud to partner with Leaf Space as it is an important step in furthering Australia’s sovereign capability and expanding our services globally.”