Melbourne-based Capricorn Space, a ground segment operator and service provider founded in early 2018, has secured licences from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to establish ground infrastructure in Australia.
Initial licences have been secured in the UHF, S and X frequency bands, and the company is targeting smallsat and CubeSat operators for its commercial launch in early 2019. Capricorn’s initial ground stations will be established on the West Coast and in the South-East of Australia.
The company, funded entirely by the Knowles Group of Companies, will provide its clients with ground station infrastructure, who can then use their own equipment remotely. Targeting Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) and other Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) constellations, Capricorn Space will deliver time-sensitive data by partnering with international ground station networks for global coverage and provide satellite data services to the Southern Hemisphere.
Three days ago, another Australian company, space IoT startup Fleet, officially opened its first nanosatellite ground station in Adelaide. The ground station will serve as the company’s mission control centre, and, similar to Capricorn’s model, will also be leased to other space startups.
The news comes just after a speech by Dr Megan Clark, Director-General of the newly-established Australian Space Agency, who said that the ground station market will be one of the agency’s priorities due to the country’s unique position in the Southern Hemisphere.