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SA companies part of lunar exploration mission

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A collection of South Australian space, remote operation and mining companies are part of a national mission announced today to send nanosatellites and exploration sensors to the Moon in 2023 in a bid to find water and other resources.

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An initiative of South Australian nanosatellite company Fleet Space Technologies, the Australian lunar exploration mission will search for “abundant, accessible water and resources” using adapted mining and space technologies.

Named Seven Sisters, the mission aims to cement Australia as a leader in space exploration within the next decade and support NASA’s Artemis Program.

Artemis will try and send the first woman and another man to the Moon by 2024.

Fleet Space CEO Flavia Tata Nardini said Seven Sisters would use mining techniques to assist NASA in identifying viable water and other mineral deposits on the Moon through an array of sensors on the lunar surface by capturing images of water and mineralisation below.

She said this would equip Artemis with the data required to make “prudent decisions ahead of robotic and human exploration”.

Nardini said Fleet was already proving its Moon capabilities through its constellation of Centauri nanosatellites, which power a global network of connected sensors and devices.

She said the mission would be further aided by Fleet’s first generation of prototype probes. Fleet expects to begin testing the probes in the coming months.

“It is critical that Australia supports NASA’s Artemis program with high-maturity systems,” Nardini said.

“Our satellites are already in space and our consortium members have proven capabilities in the most demanding environments on Earth.”

Seven Sisters is a collaboration between the Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth consortium, Fleet Space Technologies, mining company Oz Minerals, the University of Adelaide, UNSW, nanosatellite company Tyvak, geo-data specialist Fugro, and energy and resources community Unearthed.

The mission was founded in 2019 and is expected to take four years.

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