Sky and Space Global (ASX: SAS) is making further preparations for lift-off as part of its overarching plan to launch a network of over 200 nano-satellites into orbit.
The nano-satellite maker has been gradually progressing its mission plan to establish a communications network that can serve not only telcos and media providers worldwide, but also play a key role in other industries such as defence, farming and research.
Sky and Space Global’s core business is to operate a communications infrastructure based on nano-satellite technology and develop highly sophisticated software systems that can facilitate a global communication network.
The company successfully launched its first three nano-satellites, the ‘3 Diamonds’, into space in June 2017 and is preparing for the launch of a constellation of 200 more nano-satellites by 2020.
To help it achieve its end-goal of establishing a global nano-satellite network, Sky and Space Global signed a memorandum of understanding with China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, to explore the provision of launch services.
Under the terms of the deal, Sky and Space Global will assess whether CGWIC’s capabilities meet its own technical and operational launch requirements.
If the requirements are met, the two parties expect to enter formal contract negotiations for the provision of nano-satellite launch services. According to Sky and Space Global, entering into multiple deals with launch providers supports the underlying strategy of being adaptable and diversified in its reliance on any single third party.
CGWIC is a commercial launch services and satellite systems provider exclusively authorised by the Chinese Government to manage the Chinese space program and carry out space technology testing with other satellite operators.
With the support of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and other prestigious Chinese satellite technology corporations, CGWIC has established 35 years of successful launch experience using its series of ‘Long March’ rockets.
Over this period, CGWIC has despatched 63 rockets and provided satellite launch services to numerous Chinese and international corporations.
“This is the first step in securing additional launch capabilities for our constellation of nano-satellites, which was always part of our business plan,” said Mr Meir Moalem, chief executive officer of Sky and Space Global.
“The first launch remains on schedule for 2019 and all subsequent launches will take place shortly thereafter. Given the complexity of the launch and constellation, we are working to de-risk this process and are excited to work with multiple prestigious launch services providers,” he added.
“This MoU is the product of a steadily growing relationship with Sky and Space Global which I anticipate will be mutually beneficial,” said Mr Fu Zhiheng, executive vice president of CGWIC.
“We believe that Sky and Space Global is a pioneer in the next-generation usage of nano-satellites and will be a major launcher of nano-satellites in years to come. We are very excited for the opportunity to support Sky and Space Global’s business plan and to assist [the company] in business collaboration in the Greater China region,” Mr Zhiheng said.