As co-founder and CEO of one of Australia’s most exciting space startups, Fleet Space Technologies, Flavia Tata Nardini and her team are preparing to launch 100 nanosatellites into space, which Fleet will use to ‘connect billions of sensors to track and change industries and ecologies across the globe.’
A former propulsion test engineer at the European Space Agency, Project Manager at TNO and co-founder of Launchbox, Flavia 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, as they prepare for their first two launches later this year. Flavia sat down for this exclusive interview with Position ahead of her keynote at Locate ’18 – Geosmart Asia ’18.
Fleet recently won a $500,000 grant from the South Australian government to establish a mission control centre for nanosatellites – congratulations! What will this mean for Fleet’s goals for 2025, and Australia’s space industry more broadly?
At Fleet, we are thrilled to have been awarded the Future Jobs Fund grant from the South Australian government to build a mission control centre in Adelaide. We are putting South Australia on the map as a space hub. The Mission Control South Australia project is a tremendous step forward to support our local space industry, creating 17 full-time jobs in IT and advanced manufacturing.
As we prepare to deploy the first of our constellation of 100 nanosatellites this year, the mission control centre at Fleet’s Adelaide headquarters will be critical to our Australian and global operations.
Australia’s local space industry is buzzing. The mission control centre highlights the momentum, growth and commitment of government and industry to build a dynamic and ambitious space industry on Australian soil. It really is an exciting time to be a space business in South Australia!
Could you describe Fleet Space Technologies’ ultimate objective and the rationale for it?
At Fleet, we’re transforming the future of industries from space by launching a world-first constellation of nanosatellites to ubiquitously connect the world’s soon-to-be-online 75 billion devices. Once live, this network will create a digital nervous system that covers the planet, creating a world more connected than ever before.
The world is facing some huge challenges in the coming years: we live in an era of exponential population growth, increasing environmental challenges and rapid resource depletion. The constellation of nanosatellites will power the next industrial revolution, giving businesses new access to data and connectivity, so that many of these issues can be solved.
What are the key ways that you see the ‘Internet of Things’ and use of connected devices in changing the way we live and work? Which industries are poised to reap the benefits first?
Space technology is on the verge of revolutionising nearly every facet of life as we know it. The future of connected devices will transform how businesses operate across industries in all corners of the globe, from helping businesses find new and efficient ways of working; monitoring environmental challenges; and embedding new technologies and instantaneous data into our personal daily activities.
The next industrial revolution will change the way businesses operate forever, the applications of connected devices are endless from precision agriculture and virtual fences to maritime safety in the Indian Ocean, and even logistics management.
I’m interested to hear your interpretation of the term ‘geospatial culture’ – what does it mean to you, and how are your activities with Fleet contributing to evolving it?
Geospatial culture is transforming how we understand the world, operate our businesses and look to solve global challenges. The advancements we’re witnessing in geospatial technologies, across the world, are critical to Fleet’s operations as geospatial information lays at the heart of applications for connected devices.
How does the spatial industry, and more precisely your activities serve some of the key industries and verticals that stand to benefit from a more connected world?
We’ll be able to instantaneously monitor the progress of food production at a factory, then track its journey to the store, and follow its transition to shelves. This frequently-updated and precise information will increase operational efficiencies by minimising waste and monitoring product life cycles.
Environmental monitoring will be completely transformed by the future of connected devices as we monitor coral depletion in the world’s vast oceans; analyse tree regeneration in the Amazon; and track the world’s rising sea temperatures impacting extreme weather events.
Space is the next frontier for industries across the globe. The future of connected devices will enable businesses to look to the stars to solve the world’s future challenges across spatial, mining, agriculture and defence industries, just to name a few.
What are some of the key benefits that the space industry can offer Australians?
Australia’s space industry is a flurry of activity, not since the days of Woomera have we seen the most ambitious minds across the nation pull together to help solve the world’s future problems from space. Following the news of the establishment of a national space agency last year, Australia is cementing itself as a space hub with over 60 startups readying themselves to tackle the next frontier with the most innovative technologies.
As momentum for our local space industry continues to build, we’re witnessing the potential for enormous economic growth, exciting career opportunities in STEM and can inspire the next generation of Australians to look to the stars for their future.