Newcastle company blasts into big role for Skykraft’s satellite history

A Newcastle company has had a hand in the largest Australian built object to be blasted into space.

Skykraft has sent a completely Australian manufactured satellite stack into orbit – the five satellites blasted into space from Florida in the United States on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket yesterday.

The stack weighs more than 300 kilograms and is the first of over 200 satellites that will orbit the Earth over the next two years to make global air travel smoother and more efficient.

Dr Michael Frater, CEO of Skykraft, said the satellites will track aircraft and address gaps in surveillance and communications over remote areas.

“We rely on air traffic control to avoid mid-air collisions, even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With Skykraft’s service, air traffic controllers will be able to see the aircraft at all times and talk directly with the pilot anywhere in the world,

“So if you’re flying from Sydney to LA and your aircraft hits turbulence, the pilot will now be able to get a clearance to change altitude much more quickly. For passengers, this means they won’t need to be seated for long periods of time, and for airlines savings on fuels savings and a reduction in the environmental impact.”

The Printed Circuit Boards that will power the Skykraft satellites and withstand the vibration and shock of the space environment, have been built by Newcastle-based company Puzzle Precision.

Skykraft said that due to the extremely harsh conditions in space, they chose Puzzle Precision to do the circuit boards based on their strong reputation for high-reliability electronics assembly and experience in defence industry.

Kescia Ball, the Business Development Manager for Puzzle Precision said they understood the rigor and high standards necessary for the job and were confident they would be able to deliver for Skykraft.

“We are proud to support Skykraft with sovereign manufacturing facilities as they seek to rapidly design, manufacture and deliver an enhanced satellite platform capable of supporting a wide variety of applications including Earth Observation and secure satellite communication capabilities.”

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